Florida state corrections officer pleads guilty to role in Capitol riot
(DOJ Photo)

A state corrections officer who participated in the January Capitol riot--and had snapped “sensationalism!” when asked by a TV news reporter if he wanted to apologize to its victims--pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges.

Jonathan Daniel Carlton, 46, from Union County, FL, pleaded guilty to a count of parading on Capitol grounds, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing June 29.

Carlton had been implicated by evidence linking him at the riot to a companion, Bradley Weeks, also of Florida. Weeks still faces a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding.

The FBI criminal complaint against Carlton said he originally denied entering the Capitol, but “changed his story” and admitted to entering the building during the riot.

“Carlton claimed that he was caught in a large mob of people entering the Capitol (and) said a group of people in “camo” were pushing and shoving people like a human shield or wave. Carlton claimed he tried to turn around to escape the crowd but was forced/pushed back and told by one of the people in camo that he could not turn around.

“Carlton claimed he was pushed, basically trampled, and forced inside the Capitol,” the report states. “Carlton stated that once inside he wandered a hall with statues in it from which he could see the Rotunda for approximately 10 minutes, unsure of where he was located.

“Carlton claimed his leg was injured and his faced burned from what he thought was pepper spray transferred from one of the guys in camo...When asked about his lie that he had not entered the Capitol, Carlton indicated that he was embarrassed to have participated in the demonstration, appalled by the riot, and just wanted to distance himself from it.”

Carlton appeared Tuesday by Zoom, according to the Florida Times Union: “Carlton acknowledged entering the Capitol after a crowd of rioters assaulted or battled with police but his attorney, Richard Landes of Jacksonville Beach, stressed to Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan that “Mr. Carlton did not battle with anyone and did not assault anyone.”

After Carlton had appeared in court on March 11, 2021, a Jacksonville TV news reporter confronted him, leading to the following exchange, according to the station:

Do you want to apologize to the families of loved ones who died?”

Carlton: (Chuckles) “Sensationalism.”

(Reporter): “Do you find that funny?”

Carlton: “No. I find your wolf Nazi tactics coming after someone on something you have no -- clearly you do know what you’re talking about. It’s OK. No comment.”

You can read the FBI criminal complaint here.