A rioter who dragged a police officer into the violent crowd during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol was sentenced to more than seven years in prison on Thursday — the second-longest sentence so far for a participant in the insurrection.
Albuquerque Cosper Head, a 43-year-old construction worker from Johnson City, Tennessee, was first arrested in April 2021 and pleaded guilty to assaulting Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone in May 2022.
Prosecutors said that during the attack on the Capitol, Head, who has a lengthy criminal history with around 45 prior arrests, wrapped his arm around Fanone’s neck and yelled, “I’ve got one!” to other rioters.
Head then “forcibly dragged Officer Fanon into the riotous mob, isolating him as the crowd violently assaulted the officer,” as stated in court documents. “Head continued to restrain Officer Fanone while another rioter applied a taser to the base of the officer’s skull.”
As a result of the assault, Fanone had a heart attack and sustained a traumatic brain injury. He resigned from his job in December 2021.
In court documents, prosecutors called Head’s behavior on Jan. 6 “some of the most barbaric violence” that occurred that day.
On Thursday, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Head to seven years and six months behind bars, followed by three years of supervised release. In the hearing, the judge said that Head was responsible for “some of the darkest acts committed on one of our nation’s darkest days.”
Last year, Fanone testified in front of the congressional Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack, where he told the panel that he was “grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country” and that the assault caused him to have a heart attack.
The rioters, he said, attempted to strip off his firearm and threatened to kill him with it. They ripped off his radio, seized his ammunition, and beat him with their fists and hard metal objects, Fanone said.
He recalled that some of them began chanting, “Get his gun and kill him with his own gun.”
“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room,” Fanone said. “Too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell actually wasn’t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”