Judge Amy Berman Jackson didn't hold back in her criticism of Kyle Young.
His actions at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, "were some of the darkest acts committed on one of our nation’s darkest days," she told him Tuesday.
The punishment she handed down was equally harsh for the 38-year-old heating and air conditioning technician from the Dallas County town of Redfield, Iowa, ordering Young to serve 86 months — more than seven years — in federal prison.
According to a database maintained by federal prosecutors, the sentence, which federal prosecutors recommended, was the fourth longest handed down to the more than 260 convicted Jan. 6 rioters.
Young pleaded guilty in May to assaulting, resisting or impeding a police officer. He is one of several defendants to be charged in the assault of D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was dragged into the crowd, beaten and shocked with a stun gun while defending one of the entrances to the Capitol during the riot.
Young admitted in his guilty plea that he grabbed Fanone's arm during the melee, preventing him from reaching his radio or sidearm as he was assaulted. Jackson, a U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C., where the sentencing was held, noted video evidence shows Young repeatedly assaulting or menacing officers on the Capitol's West Terrace.
Fanone: 'I hope you suffer'
Fanone had a heart attack after his assault and has since retired from the department. He took the stand to describe the consequences of his injuries.
"The assault on me by Mr. Young cost me my career," he said. "It cost me my faith in law enforcement and many of the institutions I dedicated two decades of my life to serving."
At the time Young grabbed his arm, Fanone said, he was stranded in the midst of a hostile crowd, being "ruthlessly beaten," and posed no threat to anyone. He asked Jackson to sentence Young to 10 years in prison.
Addressing Young directly, Fanone told him that "I hope you suffer" in prison. NBC news reported that a spectator in the courtroom interjected to call Fanone an expletive and was escorted out.
'I am not honored by what I did'
Young took the stand before Jackson read the sentence and responded to Fanone, asking the former officer for forgiveness.
"I know how much you have to hurt over what happened to you, and I am so, so sorry," Young said. "If I could take it back, I would."
Before sentencing, the judge received letters from numerous friends and relatives of Young attesting to his character and dedication to family.
Young said he deeply regrets that his four children have to go to school surrounded by people who know what their father did, and that he hasn't been there for them in the nearly 18 months he has been jailed pending trial.
"I am not honored by what I did," he said, adding, "I feel very ashamed."
Young's attorney, Samuel Moore, argued for a sentence of no more than two years in prison. Moore sought to downplay Young's culpability in the attack and said after leaving the Capitol, "he was able to immediately realize, 'What have I done? I’ve done wrong.'"
Moore said Young is "not a lifelong political follower" and wants nothing more than to return to his family and never engage in any sort of politics again.
"No further incarceration is needed to deter this defendant," he said.
Young a 'one-man wrecking ball,' judge says
Jackson spoke at length about why Young's actions merited a tough sentence.
"The defense would like me to conclude that the defendant was a peaceful protestor who simply got caught up in the violence of the moment, and had a few minutes of incidental contact before withdrawing in disgust," Jackson said. "That’s not what happened. That’s not anything like what happened."
Before assaulting Fanone, Young can be seen on video giving an electric stun gun to another rioter, the same weapon later used against the officer.
"If the facts of the case stopped right there, with giving the taser to Danny Rodriguez, we would be talking about a substantial sentence," Jackson said. "You knew you were giving a weapon to someone who had no idea how to use it. You had to show him how to turn it on."
From there, Young, accompanied by his 16-year-old son, joined the brutal, hand-to-hand combat in the tunnel leading from the terrace into the building. Video shows Young pointing a strobe light at officers, hurling a heavy speaker toward them, and striking at them with a pole in what Jackson described as "15 to 20 minutes of active, enthusiastic participation in the violence inside."
When the mob dragged out Fanone, Jackson noted, Young was some distance away and had to force his way through the crowd to reach him.
Jackson specifically rejected Moore's claim that Young "briefly made contact" with Fanone.
"He immobilized the officer at the very moment he desperately needed the use of both arms," Jackson said.
Even after the movement of the crowd forced Young away from Fanone, video shows him assaulting another officer who also was pulled into the fray and had been temporarily blinded by bear spray.
"To you on Jan. 6, an officer down was an opportunity, a target," she told Young.
"In sum, you were a one-man wrecking ball that day."
Judge criticizes Trump, Republicans
In presentencing filings, Moore argued that Young is unlikely to reoffend in part because the Jan. 6 attack represents "a unique set of circumstances … that are not likely to be replicated."
But Jackson said that she does not share that optimism. Even nearly two years after the 2020 election, many continue to contest its results, and the inflamed rhetoric that sparked the riot has not faded, she said.
She emphasized that Young is "not a political prisoner," and said he is being punished for his violent actions rather than his support of former president Donald Trump.
But she also directly addressed the political dispute underlying the riot, criticizing Trump and other leading Republicans for their efforts to sow doubt and overturn the results of the 2020 election.
"It is not patriotism, it is not standing up for America to stand up for one man who knows full well that he lost instead of the Constitution he was trying to subvert," said Jackson, a 2011 appointee of then-President Barack Obama.
She added that the "lie" the election was stolen continues to spread online and in mainstream media outlets.
"And worse, it’s become heresy for members of the former president’s party to say otherwise," she said.
Young is one of eight Iowans to be charged so far with taking part in the riot and is the second to be sentenced.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowan Kyle Young gets 7+ years for Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot assault