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Oklahoma Army veteran admits to assaulting officer during Jan. 6 riot

The United States Capitol building
United State Capitol Police
The United States Capitol building

An Oklahoma Army veteran pleaded guilty to assaulting a Washington D.C. police officer during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot outside the U.S. Capitol.

Benjamen Scott Burlew, 44, of Miami, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony offense of assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement.

Burlew was present in the Lower West Terrace area of the U.S. Capitol grounds, where Metropolitan Police had formed a defensive line behind a row of metal barricades. Burlew admitted to approaching the barricades, grabbing an MPD officer and attempting to pull the officer into the crowd of rioters.

Burlew was originally arrested on Aug. 19, 2021 on accusations he assaulted an Associated Press photographer. The photographer, who was wearing identification, was mistaken for an Antifa activist by rioters because he was dressed in black. Burlew grabbed and shoved the photographer over a wall, according to court documents.

More than 100 police officers were injured during the riot, and over 1,400 individuals have been charged in connection with crimes related to breaching the U.S. Capitol building. Burlew is one of 12 Oklahomans who have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes.

Burlew’s sentencing is set for Sept. 20 in federal court. The maximum punishment is eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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Anusha Fathepure is a summer intern at KOSU as part of the Inasmuch Foundation's Community Fellowship Class.
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