09/13/2023 | Press release | Archived content
WASHINGTON - A Tennessee man was sentenced today on eight felony and two misdemeanor charges for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
Joseph "Jose" Lino Padilla, 43, of Cleveland, Tennessee, was sentenced to 78 months in prison by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in the District of Columbia. On May 3, Judge Bates found Padilla guilty, following a bench trial, on ten counts, among them two assaults on police officers, including one with a deadly or dangerous weapon, and obstruction of an official proceeding and related charges. In addition to the prison term, Judge Bates ordered Padilla to serve 24 months of supervised release and to pay restitution of $2,000.
According to evidence presented in court, Padilla traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend a rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021. After he left the rally, Padilla made his way toward the U.S. Capitol building, arriving at the West Plaza at about 1:20 p.m. Here, he approached a line of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers who were standing behind a bike rack barricade. As he got closer, he berated the officers, calling them "traitors" and "oath breakers."
At one point, Padilla turned towards an officer and said that the officer was "following unconstitutional orders" and that the officer "had a duty to refuse unconstitutional orders."
Padilla, a former prison corrections officer, then repeatedly pushed against the bike racks, forced his way into the Tunnel, and threw a flagpole, striking an officer in the helmet. During the riot, Padilla messaged a family member, "I've been beaten. Sprayed and [tased]. Resting before I go in for more," "Were pushing the door. Had to take a break," and "It's not a rally anymore it's a revolution."
In total, Padilla spent three hours on the West Front of the Capitol, breaking through police lines, rallying other rioters to join him, and relentlessly berating police.
The day after the riot, Padilla posted on social media, "[T]he Declaration of Independence, one of our founding documents, specifically gave me the right to do what I did. '... it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,'" and "Yeah, I'm proud of what I did yesterday. It's guns next, that's the only way."
Padilla was arrested in Tennessee on Feb. 23, 2021.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. Valuable assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The case was investigated by the FBI's Knoxville and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 32 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,100 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 396 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigations are ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.