The man who pulled former Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone into the crowd of violent rioters on January 6, 2021, yelling “I got one!” was sentenced Thursday to 90 months behind bars.
In the lower west terrace tunnel, a small entryway into the Capitol, the mob fought police with chemical spray, poles, bats, and officers’ own batons and shields against the line of police – including Fanone – protecting the building and those inside.
It was during this battle that a man named Albuquerque Head pulled Fanone away from his fellow officers, wrapping his arm around Fanone’s neck, tearing him into the crowd, according to court documents, which consumed Fanone and beat him unconscious.
“These were some of the darkest acts on one of (our) darkest days,” district Judge Amy Berman Jackson said before handing down the sentence Thursday.
“He was your prey, he was your trophy,” she said of Fanone, adding later that the officer “was protecting America” that day.
Head, of Kingsport, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in May to assaulting a police officer and has been detained since April 2021.
During the hearing, prosecutors played video from Fanone’s body-worn camera on January 6, which showed Head initially tell Fanone, “I’m going to get you out of here.”
“Thank you,” Fanone replied.
Fanone testified during the sentencing that at first he believed Head was trying to help him. Seconds later, however, Head yelled “I got one!” to the mob.
Fanone testified he felt Head “choke me and drag me out into the vicious crowd,” holding onto Fanone as another rioter tased him. The officer suffered a heart attack as rioters beat him and tased him in his neck repeatedly, Fanone said.
“Show Mr. Head the same mercy he showed me on January 6,” Fanone told the judge Thursday. “None.”
The footage also showed Fanone’s first words when he regained consciousness as officers carried him inside the Capitol. “We took the door back?” he asked his fellow officers.
Fanone is now a CNN contributor.
Head chose not to speak during Thursday’s hearing.
“Head appears before this Honorable Court as a 43-year-old seeking redemption and mercy,” his defense attorney, Nicholas Wallace, wrote in a sentencing memorandum, noting that his father had passed away while he was in prison and his mother is in “declining health.”
Head’s attorney also blamed his clients lengthy rap sheet on a former addiction to opioids and other drugs, saying that his crimes came to a “screeching halt” after he became sober several years ago.
Head’s fiancé and mother of his two daughters was at the sentencing Thursday and wrote a letter to the judge on Head’s behalf, which Jackson called “raw” and “true.”
Jackson, reading from the letter, noted “it’s the women who will suffer.”
Fanone told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “Anderson Cooper 360” Thursday that he thought the punishment was appropriate and that Jackson was “thoughtful in her sentencing,” but added that the long sentences handed to some convicted January 6 defendants may be “inspiring” some Americans to “fight harder and to be more violent.”
Asked if he believed if the long sentences have “a deterrent effect” on potential future attacks, Fanone said, “I would traditionally say yes, but these are not traditional crimes. These are politically inspired attacks on law enforcement and on our democracy.”
“Unfortunately, you still have individuals, a former president, many of his allies, that continue to espouse the same lies that motivated these attacks,” Fanone added. “So while I think that [the long sentences] may prevent many Americans from participating in something similar to January 6, I think it’s also inspiring many Americans to fight harder and to be more violent.”