Jan. 6 rioter who ‘blind-side tackled’ Capitol officer to be sentenced

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WASHINGTON — A Donald Trump supporter who “blind-side tackled” a U.S. Capitol Police officer from behind on Jan. 6 and flipped him over a ledge is set to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Ralph Celentano, a New York man who thought Donald Trump was the greatest president in American history, was arrested in 2022 and convicted at trial last year. Court evidence shows that Celentano believed Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, writing on social media that “crooked poll workers need to be hauled before judges” before heading to the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, and then heading to the Capitol.

Ralph Celentano at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Ralph Celentano at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.USDCDC

“While admittedly ‘amped up’ from the rally, Celentano marched over a mile to the Capitol Building gripping his Trump flag, folding chairs strapped to his backpack, which bore a patch that read, ‘Kill Them All and Let God Sort it Out,’” prosecutors wrote.

While at Peace Circle, Celentano said in a video that rioters should “occupy the Capitol, it’s our building,” and then joined the mob confronting officers, calling them “pathetic pieces of s—,” prosecutors said. Celentano then pushed officers and used their riot shields against them.

Eventually, Celentano shoved U.S. Capitol Police Officer Kenrick Ellis over a banister. Ellis, who served in the military in Iraq, testified that he thought during the fighting outside the Capitol that was how it “was going to end” for him, and feared that he would never see his five-year-old son again.

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