California man sentenced to four years in prison for charges related to Capitol breach

Erik Herrera was found guilty by a jury of the felony offense of obstruction of an official proceeding, and four misdemeanor offenses

Capitol EE UU
Violent insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.Julio Cortez (AP)

Erik Herrera, 35, of El Cajon, California, was sentenced, on January 13, 2023, to 48 months in prison for felony and misdemeanor charges for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the US Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election, the Department of Justice said. Herrera was arrested on Aug. 19, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Herrera was found guilty by a jury in the US District Court in the District of Columbia, on August 19, 2022, of the felony offense of obstruction of an official proceeding, and four misdemeanor offenses, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol Building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building. District Court Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell also ordered three years of supervised release, $2,000 restitution, a fine of $1,000, and a special assessment of $170.

According to the government’s evidence, Herrera was among rioters who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Among other places, he was in groups that entered the Capitol at the Senate Fire Door and the Senate Wing Door. He also posted a photograph of himself holding papers inside the Senate Parliamentarian’s office. Herrera is a photographer but was not in the Capitol as a credentialed journalist. On Jan. 7, 2021, he admitted on social media that a press patch he was wearing had not been issued by a media organization. He wrote, “I don’t have a monopoly on press badges. They’re on Amazon for like $8 … No special permission to buy.”

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 more than 284 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

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