Rockaway Proud Boys Member Pleads Guilty To Capitol Riot Charges
On Friday, a man from Rockaway Township pled guilty to federal civil disorder charges related to his violent participation with other members of the right-wing Proud Boys during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The action was intended to keep then-President Donald Trump in office.
Court documents filed on Friday in the case allege that Shawn Price, 28, the vice president of a North Jersey chapter of the Proud Boys, travelled to Washington, D.C. with around a dozen other members and entered the restricted grounds of the U.S. Capitol, where he helped push a crowd forward into a line of officers working to restrain the crowd.
A federal charge of obstruction of law enforcement during civil unrest carries a possible punishment of five years in jail, and Price, a former resident of Hopatcong in Sussex County, pleaded guilty to the offence. Since Price has admitted guilt for his role in the tragic riot and volunteered to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation, prosecutors will propose a sentence of between one and eighteen months in prison. At sentence, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols is not required to follow the suggestion.
The maximum fine under the federal act was $250,000, but under the terms of the deal, Price’s penalty would be between $4,000 and $40,000.
Court filings state that around 1 p.m., Price came to the Capitol with goggles, milk, and other neutralising substances and recorded himself with a swarm of protesters entering the lower west terrace. Prosecutors claimed in newly filed criminal filings on Friday that Price, who uploaded the video to his Facebook account, screamed obscenities at officers, branded them cowards, and yelled to the crowd, “It’s going time people!” as they approached the northern stairs.
They wanted to stop us because they thought we couldn’t do it, and now look at this [explicit]! Price stated in the video, before he branded police as “traitors” and urged the audience to “let’s go.”
Records reveal that around 1:30-1:45 p.m., Price put on his goggles and assisted other Proud Boys members he was with pushing individuals into law enforcement officials who were attempting to restrict the crowd and hold crowd-control barriers in place. After the fact, Price boasted to his Facebook followers that he “headed the storm” and was successful in breaking through the Capitol doors despite “being tear-gassed, pepper sprayed, and blasted with rubber bullets.”
Harley Breite, Price’s attorney, testified that his client “just wanted to convey his worries about the disintegration of what he sees is the American fabric” and had no intent to damage anyone or anything.
According to public court records, Price has at least four prior convictions dating back to 2014, including for criminal trespass, simple assault, terroristic threats, and wandering/prowling. As a member of the Proud Boys, he went to multiple pro-Trump events in 2020 and texted his buddies photos and videos of the midnight skirmishes, including one in December 2020 that got violent.
Price has not denied his association with the Proud Boys, a gang with a checkered past marked by acts of violence. A number of government officials have made accusations against the group, which its members have strongly refuted.
As a result of the incident, Price must contribute an extra $2,000 to the roughly $2.7 million needed to rebuild the Capitol. He is currently out on bail before his February 2023 sentencing.
Data from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia shows that as of October 6th, federal prosecutors had filed charges against more than 880 people from nearly all 50 states in connection with the Capitol riot, with 412 defendants accepting plea deals and 280 having already been sentenced.
According to USA TODAY, 23 persons from Garden State were detained and charged with various offences after being implicated in the rioting on January 6. The longest sentence ever handed down to a rioter at the time was 41 months, and it was granted to Hardyston resident Scott Fairlamb, 45, in November 2021 after he admitted to assaulting an officer.
Bergen County organiser for the New Jersey Oath Keepers James Breheny, 61, of Little Falls, Passaic County, is accused of breaking into the Capitol building despite first telling authorities that he was “pushed inside.” He is being charged with numerous federal offences, such as unlawful entry and disruptive behaviour. According to the court records, he still hasn’t settled his case, and a hearing on the current state of it is scheduled for January 2023.