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Linden man pleads guilty to assaulting officers during January 6th riot

A Linden man has pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement during the insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

64-year-old Matthew Thomas Krol entered the plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., to a felony count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon. In exchange for the plea, seven other charges, including civil disorder, robbery and engaging in an act of physical violence in the Capitol Grounds or Buildings, will be dropped.

Krol, who has been in custody since his arrest Feb. 22, 2022 in Linden, will be sentenced December 15th. The charge he pleaded guilty to carries a maximum 20 years in prison, but the plea agreement indicates that sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of anywhere between 46 and 78 months based on his level of cooperation with investigators examining the January 6th riot and public acceptance of his guilt at sentencing.

Krol is the self-professed executive officer of the Genesee County Volunteer Militia and admitted to the FBI after his arrest that he had associated with some of those who had been charged with the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, including telling one of them in a Facebook exchange that he “would rather apprehend tyrants at the Capital (sic), hang them on those beautiful oak trees then kill citizens in a civil war … just sayin.”

A previous motion by Krol for pre-trial release was rejected by the court due to “Krol’s violent rhetoric, association with individuals alleged to have been involved with the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer, historical leadership of a militia group, and ownership of approximately ten guns” that lead the Court to conclude he “poses a concrete, prospective threat to public safety.”

Authorities contend that on Jan. 6, at approximately 2:28 p.m., he pushed forward through a crowd near the Capitol Steps on the east side of the building, threw a water bottle at police officers, pulled other civilians out of his way, and attacked an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department. He allegedly grabbed the officer, spun him around, and stole his police baton. He is then said to have held up the baton to the crowd and used it to strike other officers, including one who was holding a shield.

According to documents filed in federal court, Krol admitted to attending Michigan rallies with a rifle strapped to his shoulder, including at least one at the state Capitol in Lansing.

The Jan. 6th, 2021 assault disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.

According to the Associated Press, more than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 600 of them have pleaded guilty, while approximately 100 others have been convicted after trials decided by judges or juries. More than 550 riot defendants have been sentenced, with over half receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from six days to 18 years.

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