Proud Boys member Ricky Willden gets 2 years in prison for attacking police during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol
- Ricky Willden, a self-proclaimed Proud Boys member, admitted to assaulting police on January 6.
- A judge sentenced him to two years in prison — a term six months shorter than what prosecutors suggested.
A federal judge on Friday sentenced Proud Boys member Ricky Willden to two years in prison for assaulting police during the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
Willden, a self-proclaimed member of the far-right extremist group, admitted in April that he sprayed a chemical irritant at police officers protecting the Capitol on January 6, and then hurled the canister at them.
In addition to the two-year prison sentence, Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered Willden to serve three years of probation following his release. Contreras, an Obama appointee confirmed in 2012, said Willden would receive credit for four months he has already served behind bars.
Ahead of Friday's sentencing hearing, federal prosecutors recommended that Willden receive a sentence of 2 1/2 years — or 30 months — in prison, arguing that it would reflect the "gravity" of his conduct. Prosecutors said Willden traveled across the country, from California to Washington, DC, where he joined thousands of others in the march on the Capitol on January 6.
"He crossed toppled barricades and moved past overrun officers on his way to the East Columbus doors of the US Capitol building. By the time he arrived, hundreds of rioters had already surrounded the US Capitol Police Officers guarding those doors," prosecutors wrote. "And as the crowd attacked, Willden raised his hand and sprayed the officers ... with a chemical irritant."
Willden later entered the Capitol and stayed inside for about 15 minutes, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors wrote in their sentencing recommendation that Willden celebrated his "shameful and assaultive conduct." In a Facebook post, according to their court filing, Willden said, "I think they got the message from everyone of all ages" and "FYI the cop who started this shit by mazing me and hitting my nuts playing stupid games, hope you enjoyed my special prizes."
At his sentencing Friday, Willden apologized for his role in the Capitol siege, telling the judge, "This is my fault, my responsibility ... I'm just truly grateful that those officers are okay."
Willden also asked to serve his sentence in a prison far from home, a request that earned him praise from Contreras.
"I think it's commendable that you don't want to be around people that are bad influences," the judge told him.
Contreras handed down the sentence just months before other members of the Proud Boys are set to stand trial in one of the highest-profile January 6 prosecutions to date.
In December, former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four other members of the far-right extremist group will go before a jury on charges they plotted to violently prevent the peaceful handoff of power and prevent the certification of former President Donald Trump's loss to now-President Joe Biden.
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