A man from Oregon was sentenced Friday on felony and misdemeanor counts related to his actions on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol riot.
Richard L. Harris, 43, of Happy Valley, Oregon, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols.
Harris was convicted of five felonies and six misdemeanor offenses following a bench trial before Judge Nichols on June 14, 2023.
According to court documents, Harris traveled from his home in Oregon to Washington, D.C., to attend the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, 2021. After attending the rally, Harris marched toward the U.S. Capitol with other protestors and made his way to the northwest lawn. Here, Harris came face to face with police officers, many wearing riot gear, who were attempting to prevent rioters from progressing further onto the restricted grounds and entering the building.
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Around this time, Harris, in a selfie video, proudly proclaimed, “They tear gassed us. Front f— line baby. We’re storming the Capitol.” On the northwest lawn, Harris also heard loud flash bangs, and he egged on other rioters, waving them forward, closer to the Capitol building, at least ten times.
While on the northwest front of the Capitol, Harris witnessed fellow rioters breach a police line at the top of the northwest stairs. In response, he cheered and marched toward that location. He then advanced up the staircase and crossed the courtyard to the Senate Wing Door. At 2:14 p.m., less than two minutes after the first breach of the Capitol building at the same location, Harris entered the Capitol. When Harris entered the building, he celebrated again.
After entering the Capitol, Harris marched to the Crypt, where he encountered a line of police officers and a group of rioters engaged in a standoff. Harris, now at the front of the group of rioters, and the others then overwhelmed the police lines and physically pushed the officers backward.
During the trial, one officer testified, “I found it difficult to breathe. I had no control over my extremities. I was unable to put protective covering over my firearm. I was completely at the mercy of this crowd and their surge and attempts to push past us.”
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Harris then followed a United States Capitol Police officer into a hallway around the corner from the Crypt. He led a group of rioters in shouting at the officer and, at times, pointing in the officer’s face, yelling, “Stand down. You’re outnumbered. There’s a f— million of us out there. And we are listening to Trump – your boss.”
While in the Capitol, Harris climbed on at least five different statues, including a statue of President Gerald R. Ford in which Harris placed his own blue camouflage “MAGA” hat on the statue’s head.
Harris also threatened former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Mike Pence, and a journalist while inside the Capitol. In the Rotunda, Harris picked up a landline used and owned by U.S. Capitol Police. Into the phone, Harris yelled: “Can I speak to Pelosi? Yeah, we’re coming, b—. Oh, Mike Pence? We’re coming for you, too, f— traitor.”
Shortly after making these threats, Harris left the Rotunda and headed to an area near the Old Senate Chamber, still on the second floor of the Capitol. Harris passed an atrium with an opening to the first floor, where he overheard another rioter criticizing a journalist. Harris responded, “Let’s throw him over, throw him over.”
Upon returning to the Rotunda, Harris encountered yet another line of police officers. Once again, he found himself on the front line, this time, face to face with a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) lieutenant. He then grabbed the lieutenant’s riot baton and yanked it several times. Court documents say that Harris pulled with such force that he dragged the MPD lieutenant forward several feet into the mob of rioters.
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From there, Harris and the other rioters in the Rotunda were corralled into the East Foyer. Harris stayed in the East Foyer for an additional 16 minutes and didn’t leave until police officers forced him to at around 3:36 p.m.
As he exited the East Rotunda Doors, Harris took a selfie-style video, in which he exclaimed, “Front line baby” as dozens of officers stood behind him.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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