Capitol Riots

Federal Jury Convicts San Diego Man for Role In Jan. 6 Riots

Erik Herrera, 34, was found guilty by a jury in Washington D.C. and faces up to 23 years in prison after joining the mob that entered the Capitol building

An El Cajon man was convicted by a federal jury Friday for his part in the breach of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.

Erik Herrera, 34, was found guilty by a jury in Washington D.C. of felony 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.

It was a busy year for federal agents, with over 700 people arrested since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. NBCLX Political Editor Noah Pransky breaks down the numbers and talks about the aftermath of the day, and President Joe Biden's fiery speech that was unlike his usual self.

The Department of Justice said that although Herrera, who joined the mob that entered the Capitol building, is a photographer, he was not in the Capitol as a credentialed journalist and was wearing a press patch that was not issued by a media organization.

Prosecutors allege that on Jan. 7, he wrote on social media, "I don't have a monopoly on press badges. They're on Amazon for like $8... No special permission to buy."

Herrera also posted a picture on social media of himself holding papers inside the Senate Parliamentarian's office. He was arrested in Los Angeles last year.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office of the District of Columbia, the felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and possible financial penalties, while the misdemeanor charges courld result in a combined maximum of three years and additional financial penalties. 

The Department of Justice has released new video from the U.S. Capitol showing protesters attacking police as they tried to secure two doors to keep people out of the building. 

Herrera joins more than 860 people arrested across the country for crimes related to Jan. 6, including at least three San Diego County residents.

Earlier this year, former Coronado resident Jeffrey Alexander Smith was sentenced to a three-month prison term for taking part in the breach, while former Ocean Beach resident Philip James Weisbecker was sentenced to 30 days in custody.

Carlsbad resident James McGrew, who pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement officers at the Capitol, is slated to be sentenced in October.

Herrera is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 10, 2022.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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