Suspect in Capitol riot allegedly 'severely beaten' by DC jail guards

Danielle Wallace
·4 min read

A Pennsylvania man charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was severely beaten by Washington D.C. jail guards at a corrections center, according to defense attorneys and another defendant held at the facility who referenced the attack in court Tuesday.

During a court appearance via Zoom on Tuesday, an inmate named Ronald Sandlin told U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich that guards at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington, D.C., were allegedly subjecting those held in connection to the Jan. 6 attack to violence, threats and verbal harassment. Sandlin described an attack that allegedly happened last month to another defendant charged in the Jan. 6 event, Ryan Samsel, while held at the facility operated by the D.C. Department of Corrections.

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He told the judge that Samsel, "was severely beaten by correctional officers, [is now] blind in one eye, has a skull fracture and detached retina," Politico reported. Richard Barnett, also charged in connection to the riot, was tackled "to the ground" by guards, Sandlin said.

Attorneys representing Samsel, Steven Metcalf and Elisabeth Pasqualini, did not return voicemails left by Fox News on Wednesday.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Metcalf detailed how his client told him about an incident that happened on March 20 when Samsel said he complained that the guards took hours to bring him toilet paper and an argument ensued.

According to Metcalf, Samsel was moved to another cell that evening and by midnight two guards arrived, tied his arms behind his back with zip-tie handcuffs and "beat him to a bloody pulp."

The lawyer said his client has since suffered seizures for the first time in his life. The attack allegedly left him with a broken nose, dislocated jaw and damaged vision in one eye.

When he saw his client for the first time over video two weeks after the incident, Metcalf said Samsel’s face was still black and blue and the skin around his wrists stripped off.

"I have seen Ryan. He has two black eyes to this day, two weeks later. All the skin is ripped off both wrists, which shows the zip ties and how tight they were," Metcalf said in a separate interview with Politico. "Other inmates said his face looked like a tomato that was stomped on."

"We intend on filing a lawsuit against the two specific guards and the facility responsible for this scenario because Ryan Samsel did not deserve to get targeted and treated like this," Metcalf added.

Pasqualini told Politico that Samsel had been moved to an "undisclosed location" early Tuesday and the incident when he was allegedly attacked by DC guards is under investigation by the FBI. The attorney said she learned about the incident from lawyers representing other defendants held at the jail.

The D.C. Department of Corrections said in a statement that the facility "takes the safety and well-being of all residents, staff, and contractors extremely seriously. We are aware of the allegation made by an inmate and it is under investigation by the Department of Justice."

During the hearing Tuesday, the judge made no direct response to the allegations made by Sandlin regarding Samsel and Barnett. But Friedrich did schedule another hearing for Thursday to discuss Sandlin’s potential pre-trial release.

Prosecutors on Tuesday objected to Sandlin’s pre-trial release and told the court he had been in contact with "famed documentarian" Dinesh D'Souza.

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"It would not surprise me at all if he absconded and tried to paint himself as the Edward Snowden of the Capitol riot," a prosecutor reportedly said in court.

Sandlin also reportedly described what he categorized as racial tension between minority guards and the largely White suspects held at the jail, given that some suspects have been accused of belonging to White supremacist groups. Sandlin told the judge one guard declared, "I hate all White people and your honky religion," according to Politico.

Samsel is charged with assaulting a U.S. Capitol Police officer and engaging in disorderly conduct. According to court documents, he allegedly pushed a barricade to the ground outside the building, knocking over an officer, causing her to hit her head on the stairs behind her and lose consciousness.

Samsel allegedly picked the officer up, telling her, "We don’t have to hurt you, why are you standing in our way?" The officer appeared semiconscious and left but collapsed later that day while arresting a different rioter, court documents allege.