The man who used a stun gun to attack Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone on January 6, 2021, tasing him in the neck during the US Capitol riot, pleaded guilty Tuesday to several counts connected to his involvement in the deadly attack, including using a dangerous weapon to injure a law enforcement official.
Daniel Joseph Rodriguez, 40, pleaded guilty to four counts, including conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and tampering with documents.
Rodriguez faces just over 10 years in prison. He’ll remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for May 16.
During a brutal assault against a line of police officers guarding an entrance to the Capitol in the Lower West Terrace tunnel, Fanone was dragged out by the neck by a man named Albuquerque Head and was quickly swallowed by the mob.
Head pleaded guilty to assaulting an officer and was sentenced to over seven years in prison in October.
Fanone said he was beaten with a flagpole in addition to being tased several times in the neck and heard people in the mob saying they should “kill him with his own gun.” Several people tried to pull his weapon from its holster, according to Fanone, who said he begged the mob to spare him, telling them, “I have kids.”
Fanone has said that he suffered a heart attack as a result of the assault. He has since left the force and is now a contributor for CNN.
In an interview with law enforcement in 2021, Rodriguez said he “tased one of them,” and, when asked what he would tell Fanone now, Rodriguez said he was sorry.
“I’m sorry he had to go through that,” Rodriguez told investigators. “It’s not right that he had to suffer like that. And it puts fear in him and worrying about his life. He was scared for his own life and thought about having to kill us. And he was willing to die because of his beliefs, too.”
Describing the assault, Rodriguez added, “When I did it, I was like, ‘oh, my God. What did I just do?’ And I got out of there. I left. I did it and I left.”
As prosecutors read the plea agreement during Tuesday’s hearing, they noted that Rodriguez boasted about using the stun gun on Fanone in messages he sent to a Telegram group chat called “PATRIOTS 45 MAGA Gang.”
“Tased the f*** out of the blue,” he wrote in the chat, prosecutors said.