Mississippi man sentenced for assaulting law enforcement officers during Jan. 6 breach of U.S. Capitol

Published 8:10 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

A Mississippi man, who also briefly lived in California, was sentenced Friday to 78 months in prison for assaulting law enforcement officers during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

James McGrew, 40, of Biloxi, Mississippi and Carlsbad, California, pleaded guilty on May 13, 2022, in the District of Columbia, to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers.  In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell ordered 36 months of supervised release, a $5,000 fine and $2,000 restitution.

According to court documents, McGrew engaged in a series of confrontations with law enforcement officers on Jan. 6. He was part of a crowd that overwhelmed law enforcement officers attempting to prevent rioters from advancing further on the restricted grounds. He proceeded to an area outside the Upper West Terrace doors to the Capitol Building. He shot video of the scene, shouting “let’s go” approximately 14 times, and “we took this thing.”

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McGrew entered the Capitol at 2:45 and moved to the Rotunda, where officers were attempting to clear rioters out of the building. At approximately 3:05 p.m., he pushed one officer and struck another officer who was standing before him. Two minutes later, another officer used his baton to push McGrew and others closer to the exit. McGrew struck the officer and lunged for the officer’s baton. He then engaged in an altercation with yet another officer. Officers eventually pushed McGrew and others out of the Rotunda, and he exited the building at 3:22 p.m.

About 45 minutes later, however, McGrew joined in an attack against officers attempting to secure the Lower West Terrace tunnel entrance to the building. At approximately 4:13 p.m., another rioter in the crowd handed McGrew a wooden handrail with metal brackets attached, almost the same height as McGrew. McGrew positioned the handrail over his head and launched it into the tunnel, throwing the end with the metal brackets towards the law enforcement officers. The handrail appeared to hit the shield or visor of an officer. McGrew then joined in more pushing, gaining access into the tunnel area until being pushed out by officers at approximately 4:20 p.m.

McGrew was arrested on May 28, 2021, in Glendale, Arizona.

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of California and the District of Arizona.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s San Diego and Phoenix Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified McGrew as #326 in its seeking information photos, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.

In the 24 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 950 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 284 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.