A convicted Capitol rioter was tackled by federal law enforcement officials in court on Monday after he allegedly refused to surrender when a federal judge ordered him jailed while awaiting sentencing.
The scuffle immediately followed the judge revoking GossJankowski’s release while he awaits sentencing on multiple felony counts related to his participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington. This decision came after federal prosecutors accused him of directly harassing a law enforcement officer related to his case and making “intimidating statements” about other law enforcement officials online.
Vitali Gossjankowski is seen in a photo shared as evidence of his participation in the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by federal prosecutors.
A representative for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington confirmed that federal officers assisted with his restraint “to ensure the safety of the courtroom.”
“An investigation related to his conduct is ongoing,” Public Affairs Specialist Daniel Ball told HuffPost.
U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, in explaining his decision in court on Monday, called GossJankowski’s social media posts “extremely troubling and dangerous” and alluded to other federal judges in Washington who have been targeted and have needed security because of similar behavior, according to CBS News.
GossJankowski’s attorney Matthew J. Peed, in an email to HuffPost on Monday, said his client’s reaction in court was “not at all in line” with his past behavior. He called it a “confusing and emotional moment” and insisted that GossJankowski never made any actual threats and he’s a “person of principle.”
“The judge’s order was understandable, but it should be noted that the judge stated on the record that he was concerned about how *others* in the community might respond to the posts at issue, not about Mr. GossJankowski posing a danger himself,” Peed said in an email. “Mr. GossJankowski is a person of principle who spoke out against violence towards the police on January 6, and it had been difficult for him to be falsely accused of using a dangerous weapon against the police ― a charge the jury rejected.”
Federal prosecutors presented the judge with copies of text messages and social media posts that they said showed GossJankowski harassing and targeting federal law enforcement while out on release.
The online posts were said to include “photographs of locations, vehicles, and individuals associated with the FBI.” The text messages, allegedly sent from GossJankowski’s cell phone number, included antisemitic and racist epithets that were allegedly directed at the officer.
GossJankowski was convicted in March of obstructing officers during a civil disorder; obstructing an official proceeding or aiding and abetting the obstruction; and assaulting, resisting or impeding a law enforcement officer while making physical contact.