Missouri man who carried pitchfork at Capitol riot pleads guilty to assaulting police

A Raytown man who federal prosecutors say assaulted police and carried a pitchfork on the Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 riot pleaded guilty Thursday to three felonies.

Christopher Brian Roe, 39, pleaded guilty to three counts of assaulting, resisting and impeding certain officers. The hearing was held in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 5. Roe is the 24th Missouri defendant to be convicted in a Capitol riot case. Of those, 17 have been sentenced. The cases of 12 other Missourians are ongoing.

Roe was arrested July 18 on some of the most serious charges to date among the 36 Capitol riot defendants from Missouri. The 27-page probable cause affidavit filed with the criminal complaint contained 48 photos that showed a man it said was Roe breaching the Capitol, repeatedly scuffling with police and using a metal bicycle rack to try to break open a door.

He was charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; destruction of government property; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; act of physical violence in the Capitol ground or buildings; and parading, picketing and demonstrating in a Capitol building.

The probable cause affidavit filed with the criminal complaint said Roe had attended the “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, carrying items including a pitchfork, zip ties and duct tape. After the rally, Roe went to the west front of the U.S. Capitol building, the document said, where he faced a line of U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers with the pitchfork in hand.

Roe then moved forward, pushed an officer, then wrapped his arm around the officer’s arm, according to the affidavit. One officer sprayed a chemical irritant, striking Roe in the face and causing him to retreat.

Roe later moved to the Upper West Terrace, then entered the House of Representatives wing of the building and roamed for about 15 minutes, the affidavit said. When officers tried to remove Roe and other rioters from the building, it said, he shoved one officer several feet backward and wrapped his arm around the officer’s baton.

He then stood near a metal detector, and when an officer identified in the document as R.D. pushed him toward the exit, Roe forcefully grabbed the metal detector, causing it to shake, the affidavit said.

“Roe then turned back to the officer and said to them, ‘You are protecting traitors and treasonists. They committed treason. And you shot one of us. That’s bulls--t. Put your baton down and f------ join us,” the document said.

When a confrontation erupted, it said, “Roe then pushed towards the fight and shoved Officer R.D. backwards several feet. Roe also wrapped his arm around Officer R.D.’s baton, impeding Officer R.D.’s ability to defend themselves from the rioters.”

Roe exited the Capitol at 2:57 p.m., according to the affidavit, after officers pushed the rioters outside and deployed a chemical irritant toward them.

Roe then reentered through the East Rotunda doors with another mob and further clashed with police but was again removed. He then went to the north door of the Capitol, the document said.

“At approximately 4:16 P.M., rioters were trying to breach into the doors while officers were barricaded inside the Capitol,” it said. “In his own attempt to break down the doors, Roe brought a bike rack into the alcove and rammed it against the inner doors roughly ten times. At points, the door visibly buckled inwards against its hinges after Roe’s strikes.”

Roe’s arrest came as the massive Capitol riot investigation picked up the pace, 2 1/2 years after the Jan. 6 breach.

The arrest tally now stands at more than 1,185, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, on charges ranging from demonstrating in a Capitol building to seditious conspiracy.