An army veteran from Utah who became one of the faces of the January 6 riot – and one of its most defiant defendants afterward – has pleaded guilty felony assault charges.
Landon Kenneth Copeland, 34, of Hildale, Utah, pleaded guilty to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Copeland’s plea agreement states that federal sentencing guidelines would suggest a sentence of 41 to 51 months. He will be sentenced September 9.
Copeland was among the first wave of rioters to gather on the Capitol grounds – at 1:11 p.m. – according to the FBI. As Fox 13 News of Salt Lake City reported, he “became a symbol of what happened on January 6, 2021, when news photographers captured images of him wrestling with police over a crowd control fence.
The DOJ reported that while another rioter grabbed a Capitol Police officer by his collar or neck, Copeland pushed from behind, causing the officer to fall and sustain injuries to his knee, back, and hip.
“Immediately after the officer fell to the ground, Copeland grabbed a riot shield belonging to one officer and pushed against the police line, the DOJ report stated. “He grabbed another officer’s jacket and grappled with that officer, pushing (him) backward. Then he lowered his body to block other officers as they attempted to control the crowd. Copeland and other rioters joined in a tug of war with officers who attempted to reclaim (a) barricade. As events continued, chemical spray was deployed against members of the crowd. Copeland then charged officers with the barricade, pushing and throwing it into multiple officers.”
Copeland has been incarcerated for all but two days since his arrest last April 29. As Raw Story reported last year, he was released and rearrested immediately after this communication with the probation officer:
"I will eat your flesh for nutrients. You don't know what I am," Copeland told the probation officer, according to a motion from prosecutors seeking to keep him detained. Just before making the threat, Copeland screamed at a judge and court officials during an off-the-rails Zoom hearing on May 6. He texted his probation officer from the hearing saying, "Tell them I want to speak, or I will die for it!"
Copeland then drove to probation services where he spoke to the officer through a glass partition, according to the motion, "ranting about government conspiracies" and claiming "the government was out to get him."
"At times, he banged his head against the glass and pressed his face against the glass. He told the (probation officer) that 'If I was on the other side of this glass, 'I would eat you from the inside out because I am starving,' and went on to say 'F*ck all of you, and f*ck every single one of you.’"
Copeland later said he became enraged during the May hearing when an attorney for another Jan. 6 defendant said his client had become addicted to Fox News and suffered from "Foxitis." Copeland said the attorney's comment was "spitting in the face of the 258 million people that tune in to the Tucker Carlson show.
After his arrest, Copeland had this to say to a Fox 13 News reporter:
“I do believe that the jury, whenever they stand there, they will see me as nothing more than a soldier trying to defend his people from the people who were attacking them," Copeland said. He added that former president Donald Trump "invited" him to be there — and that he would "willingly do it again."
Copeland has been in the Hurricane, Utah jail for a year and that time will be credited toward his sentence, the station reported.
You can read the FBI statement of facts here.