A man confessed to assaulting police, an AP photographer, on Jan. 6.

A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting police officers and an Associated Press photographer during riots at the U.S. Capitol on Monday, Jan. 6, 2021.

In a deal with prosecutors, Alan Bierly, 55, admitted to firing a stun gun while confronting officers who were trying to protect the Capitol from an angry mob. He also admitted to assaulting AP photographer John Manchiello, who was documenting the chaos and violence outside the building where lawmakers were meeting to confirm President Joe Biden’s election victory.

In exchange for pleading guilty to two charges stemming from the assaults, prosecutors agreed to drop several other charges Byerly faced, including civil disorder. An email was sent to his attorneys seeking comment after the hearing in federal court in Washington.

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said federal guidelines recommend a prison sentence of about three to four years. Byerly, of Fleetwood, will be sentenced in October.

Bierly, who was arrested last year, is among three men accused of attacking Manchiello, who was wearing a helmet-style gas mask when he was pushed by a group of men outside the Capitol. Gave, pulled and punched. The attack was caught on video by a colleague.

According to charging documents, Byerly was seen on camera standing behind a group of people who dragged Minchello down a set of stairs leading to the west front of the capitol building.


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At the bottom of the stairs, Byerly and three other people grabbed the photographer and pushed, shoved and dragged him, authorities said. Prosecutors say Byerly grabbed Minchello by both hands and pushed him backwards before continuing to push and drag him down the stairs.

Manchilo found himself standing against a stone wall flanked by attackers. Authorities say another man, Benjamin Scott Berlew of Miami, Oklahoma, lunged at the photographer and slammed him into a wall, sending Manchiello onto his back. Berleau was arrested last August and will go on trial in October.

A third person involved in the attack was arrested in May. Rodney Milstrad is accused of grabbing Munchiello by her backpack and pulling her down the stairs, then pushing her. In a Facebook post a few days later, Milstrad said it was “worth it” to attack the photographer, adding, “Hit him with everything god. The crowd cheered,” according to court papers.

Authorities say that shortly after attacking Manchiello, Byerly approached police officers standing behind a row of bike racks trying to disperse the pro-Trump crowd. Prosecutors say Byerly approached officers while holding a stun gun and activated the weapon, but police were able to pry it from his hand.

Bierly continued to charge the officers with a baton, hitting and shoving them, and grabbed an officer’s baton, authorities said. Officers were eventually able to stop Byerly, but he escaped with the help of another rioter, according to charging documents.

Byerly is among more than 300 people who have so far pleaded guilty to federal crimes stemming from the riots. More than 840 people have been charged with crimes ranging from low-level misdemeanors to more serious charges such as conspiracy to commit rebellion.

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