Federal authorities continue to arrest alleged Jan. 6 participants more than 2½ years after the Capitol attack, with a Virginia man being taken into custody Wednesday and charged with being part of a group that attacked D.C. police Officer Michael Fanone.
Lewis Wayne Snoots, 59, of Louisa, about 33 miles east of Charlottesville, was charged with felony assault on a police officer, felony civil disorder and three misdemeanors. About 140 officers from Capitol and D.C. police were injured on Jan. 6, 2021, and authorities have charged about 400 people with assaulting those officers.
Since the beginning of this year, the Justice Department has charged 188 new defendants, according to Patricia Hartman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington. Riot arrests total nearly 1,150, according to statistics released Wednesday by the Justice Department, and 799 of those people have been convicted. The average prison sentence for a felony conviction has been about 3½ years, according to a Washington Post database.
Fanone, who nearly died in the riot after being dragged into the mob outside the lower West Terrace tunnel, has since resigned from the force, and he has spoken harshly about his attackers. Four men who pleaded guilty to assaulting Fanone have received some of the stiffest sentences of any of the Jan. 6 defendants.
After being part of the police line that stood against rioters trying to push through the tunnel, Fanone was grabbed around the neck by Albuquerque Head of Kingsport, Tenn., and dragged outside, court records and testimony have shown. An affidavit filed Wednesday by FBI Special Agent Kevin Moore contains photos and video images from the tunnel purportedly showing Snoots as part of the crowd and snatching a riot shield away from officers, passing it over his head to rioters pressing behind him.
Moore’s affidavit alleges that as Head pulled Fanone toward the crowd outside, Snoots moved toward the officer, grabbed him by the upper back and helped drag him into the crowd. Video allegedly shows that Snoots grabbed Fanone’s right hand and pulled his arm, preventing the officer from defending himself while another rioter, Daniel Rodriguez of Fontana, Calif., snatched Fanone’s Taser and shocked him repeatedly on the neck.
Fanone subsequently suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with a concussion, a traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Footage from Fanone’s body camera, showing his partner pleading with the unconscious officer to “Stay with me” as Fanone is taken for emergency care, was some of the most powerful imagery from the Jan. 6 attack.
Rodriguez was sentenced to 12½ years in prison and Head received 7½ years. Two others who attacked Fanone, Kyle Young and Thomas Sibick, received sentences of seven and four years, respectively.
Snoots apparently gave an on-camera interview to a YouTube program host on the afternoon of Jan. 6, the affidavit reports, saying, “I’m fed up with it, everybody is fed up with it. They have tear gassed our a– off of the Capitol steps, but it’s not over. What they don’t understand is it’s just starting.” The FBI showed images from the riot and the interview to some of the man’s acquaintances, who allegedly confirmed his identity.
Snoots made an initial court appearance Wednesday and was released pending arraignment in Washington. No attorney was listed for Snoots in court records, and Snoots did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Four of the five longest sentences for Jan. 6 convictions were handed down in recent days to members of the far-right Proud Boys, with group leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio receiving a 22-year term, and three of his lieutenants getting sentences of 15 to 18 years.