A Florida man used a police baton to strike an officer during the January 6 Capitol insurrection and then kept it as a possible “trophy,” newly released court records show.
Mason Joel Courson, 26, of Tamarac, Florida had been arrested December 15 on multiple assault charges for an “assault of a Metropolitan Police Department officer who was beaten by a group armed with a baton, flagpole and crutch,” according to the Associated Press. Courson also was accused of having taken part in “heave ho” efforts to breach a tunnel at the Capitol, the report said.
But today, Courson’s hometown newspaper -- the Tamarac Talk-- advanced the story with this reporting from December 23 court records that had not previously received coverage:
“Prosecutors argued before a federal judge that Courson posed too serious a threat to the public to be released on bond, and the judge hearing the evidence agreed, court records show,” the newspaper reported.
“I find it significant that [Courson] kept the baton with which he assaulted [the officer],” U.S. Magistrate Judge Jared M. Strauss wrote in a Dec. 23 detention order issued in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. “Whether [Courson] intended to keep it as a trophy or a memento, I cannot determine. However, the fact that [Courson] kept that weapon over the course of the last year is not emblematic of someone who has remorse or has come to regret his actions after the passions of the moment have subsided.”
“For all of these reasons, I find that [Courson’s] character and history provide significant doubt for whether he would respect and abide by conditions of bond that I could set.”
There was also this from the judge:
“[Courson] was among those seeking to ‘battering ram’ their way through officers protecting the entrance and actually entered the Capitol,” Strauss wrote. “Even more significantly, he attempted to injure another person–specifically [one] officer…by striking him with the baton and [a second] officer…by assisting in dragging him down the stairs.”
During his post-Miranda statement to the FBI, [Courson] “admitted to exchanging blows with officers” and to attacking the officer with the baton, Strauss wrote. He also said, “he felt striking the officers was ‘justified.’”
Courson told agents the scene on the Capitol grounds was like being in a “war zone” and that he felt like he was engaged in a “battle,” according to the records.
“Despite his ‘Thin Blue Line’ face covering (seemingly showing support for law enforcement), he stated that he felt these officers were not ‘thin blue line’ but rather were traitors,” wrote Strauss.
“Clear and convincing evidence indicates [Courson] took part in what can only be described as an armed insurrection against American democracy,” Strauss said in his order rejecting bond for Courson.
“The rioters sought to overturn the results of a democratic election with which they were unhappy–not by politics or by law, but by force. I cannot conceive of anything evincing a greater disrespect for the rule of law.”
The Tamarac Talk also reported this:
“On Dec. 14, around ten FBI agents along with a SWAT team executed a search warrant on Courson’s residence in Tamarac, the records show. They found the baton he had used during the Capitol attack, along with two firearms and the clothes he had worn during the riots, according to the documents.
“Courson, a father and businessman who sells audio equipment, has a criminal history that includes several arrests between 2013 and 2018, including busts for battery, grand theft, and resisting arrest without violence, the records show.”Courson remains in federal custody in D.C. He is charged with eight federal offenses that include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers and inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, according to court records.