WASHINGTON (AP) — An Iowa man was convicted Friday on charges that he led a riotous crowd in chasing a U.S. Capitol police officer down the stairs and tackling other officers guarding the Senate in one of the most horrific scenes of a mob attack. on that day.
A federal jury deliberated for about four hours before finding Douglas Jensen guilty of felony counts of obstructing Congress from approving the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021, and assaulting or interfering with police officers during the blockade.
Jensen was found guilty on all counts, including a charge of disorderly conduct inside the Capitol while carrying a folding knife in his pocket.
During the trial’s closing arguments, the prosecutor accused Jensen of “weaponizing” the rioters by taking the lead in chasing Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman down the stairs. A reporter’s video of the confrontation went viral.
“The defendant did not just control the crowd. He used it as a weapon,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Java Mirrell told jurors. “He knew he had the numbers, and he was willing to use them.”
Jensen, a construction worker from Des Moines, Iowa, was wearing a T-shirt with a large “Q” that expressed his commitment to the QAnon conspiracy theory. One of the most memorable images of the Jan. 6 attack captured Jensen with his arms outstretched as he confronted a line of police officers outside the Senate chambers.
“Go arrest the vice president,” Jensen told one of the officers, according to prosecutors.
QAnon focuses on the baseless belief that former President Donald Trump was secretly fighting a Satan-worshipping group of enemies of the “deep state,” prominent Democrats, and the Hollywood elite. Jensen believed the conspiracy theory’s apocalyptic prophecy that the “Storm” was approaching and would lead to mass arrests and executions of Trump’s enemies, including Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence presided over the Senate on Jan. 6 when a joint session of Congress convened to confirm President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Before the riots, Trump and his allies spread false information that Pence could somehow overturn the election results.
After scaling the outer walls of the Capitol, Jensen climbed through a broken window to enter the building. Prosecutors said Jensen learned from a text message from a friend that Pence was about to certify the election results.
“That’s all going to change,” Jensen replied.
Jensen did not testify at the trial, which began Tuesday. Goodman was a key witness for the prosecution.
Before running upstairs, Goodman approached Jensen and other rioters with his hand on his gun. Fearing for his life, Goodman retreated upstairs and found support from other officers guarding the entrance to the Senate, where senators were being evacuated, according to prosecutors.
At least 880 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riots at the Capitol. About 400 of them pleaded guilty. After trials, juries convicted eight defendants in the Capitol riots. None of the defendants who participated in the jury trials were acquitted of any charges.
Sentences for rioters ranged from probation for minor offenses to 10 years in prison for a man who used a metal flagpole to attack an officer.