An Aurora, Illinois, man who is an admitted member of the far-right group Proud Boys pleaded guilty Wednesday to using a flagpole to assault officers trying to hold back the violent mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, then later bragged in a text message that he’d “bonked 2 cops.”
James Robert Elliott, 25, who also goes by “Jim Bob,” was charged last December in U.S. District Court in Washington with six counts, including civil disorder, assault of a federal officer, entering a restricted building with a dangerous weapon and carrying out an act of violence on Capitol grounds.
Elliott, who is free on bond, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of assault during a video conference hearing before U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth.
Prosecutors said they intend to seek a sentence of 3 to 4 years when Elliott is sentenced on Feb. 10. He has also agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution.
According to his plea, Elliott traveled from Aurora to Washington on the day before the attack with the intention to “protest” the certification of the electoral college results from the 2020 presidential election.
On the morning of Jan. 6, Elliott, “a member of the Proud Boys,” marched with other members of white supremacist group from the Washington Monument to the Capitol grounds while wearing a ballistic vest, hard-knuckle gloves, and a radio and carrying an American flag with a wooden pole, according to the plea.
Elliott passed barriers and crossed into the restricted area on the west side of the Capitol, then donned a helmet, faced the crowd and thrust the flag in the air, yelling, “Patriots, what is your occupation? Ah-ooh! Ah-ooh! Ah-ooh!” a phrase inspired by a battle cry from the movie “300,” according to the plea.
A few minutes later, as officers sought to replace bicycle-rack barriers holding back the mob, Elliott “swung his flagpole” at officers and “then thrust the flagpole forward into the police line,” making contact with one officer, the plea stated.
Elliott then ran to the base of some inauguration scaffolding, where he repeated the war cry. He was “repelled by gas before he was able to proceed through the scaffolding” and did not advance further toward the Capitol Building, the plea stated.
Later, Elliott sent text messages bragging about how his “rally cry” energized the crowd, according to the plea.
“Oh dude wana know one more two thing? I bonked 2 cops,” Elliott wrote in one text, according to the plea. “Never thought I’d say that lol.”
Elliott was arrested in west suburban Batavia on Dec. 20, 2021. At his detention hearing in Chicago’s federal court, prosecutors said agents found bear spray in Elliott’s backpack when executing a search warrant on his home.
Video footage from the Capitol riot showed Elliott carrying the American flag on a pole emblazoned with a Greek phrase that translates to “Come and take them,” a phrase “commonly used by individuals and groups as an anti-government rallying cry,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Bond said at the time.
As the crowd surges toward police chanting “Four more years!” and attempting to break through some metal barriers, Elliott allegedly can be seen swinging the flagpole in a downward motion at police causing at least one glancing blow on an officer’s head. Elliott then turns the flagpole and “thrusts” it horizontally toward an officer’s face, Bond said.
“The cops are getting sprayed, there’s a (expletive) fight right here!” the person shooting the video yells.
Elliott was among 32 Illinoisans charged so far in the Capitol breach. The ongoing investigation has been described by prosecutors as the largest criminal investigation in the country’s history. Nationwide, more than 870 people have been arrested in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on charges stemming from the Capitol breach, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Unlike Elliott, most of those arrested in Illinois have faced only misdemeanor charges alleging they illegally entered the Capitol, but were not violent or destructive, and so far only a handful have faced any jail time.
Elliott’s court-appointed attorney said last year her client is fully employed and lives in his parents’ basement in Aurora with his fiancee and their 2-year-old twins. He has no prior criminal record.
Earlier this year, Elliott requested temporary relief from his electronic monitoring conditions so he could get married and have a honeymoon at the Six Flags Great America amusement park in Gurnee, court records show. The judge granted the request.
Elliott’s current criminal defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.