Riverview man pleads guilty to pushing police in Capitol riot

Booking image for Matthew Council

A Florida man pleaded guilty Wednesday to attacking police officers while storming the U.S. Capitol in January 2021.

Matthew Council, 50, of Riverview, Florida, pleaded guilty in District of Columbia federal court to one felony count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers, one felony count of interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, and four misdemeanor offenses, according to court records.

He faces up to 16 years in prison at a scheduled Nov. 1 sentencing hearing.

Council was arrested at the Capitol during the riot.

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According to court documents, Council joined with others objecting to President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over then-President Donald Trump. A mob attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying election results for Biden over Trump, authorities said. Five people died in the violence.

According to the criminal complaint, Council and others gathered illegally at the west side of the Capitol. A police officer sprayed him with a chemical irritant, but he continued up the stairs to the Northwest Plaza, officials said. As police were struggling to keep the mob outside, Council entered the Parliamentarian Door. 

Prosecutors said Council barged into a line of Capitol Police officers, trying to push them back and create an opening for others to get through.

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Since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 860 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, officials said — with Florida leading the rest of the country in arrests. More than 260 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

Several high-profile cases occurred in Florida. Of the more than 70 defendants facing charges, 20 are from the Tampa Bay region. 

A main motivator behind the siege was a false belief that the 2020 election had been stolen. That event sparked more attention on election integrity. Some states, including Florida, passed stricter voting laws.