No regrets for Capitol riot defendant: ‘I don’t think I committed a crime’

A Utah man charged with assaulting and obstructing police officers during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol said, in a jailhouse interview, that he has no regrets, and went to the Capitol “to confront our lawmakers.”

Landon Kenneth Copeland, an Iraq War veteran from Utah, spoke about the incident by phone with NBC Washington reporter Scott MacFarlane on Saturday.

Copeland was previously scheduled to appear by video in D.C. federal court on Monday from his Utah jail cell, in part to discuss whether Copeland is competent to stand trial.

Copeland faces four charges: Assaulting officers, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, entering a restricted building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

The defendant, who did not have a lawyer present, gave MacFarlane permission to record the call.

“I don’t think I committed a crime,” Copeland said. “I have the capability where I could have hurt those other individuals, but I didn’t hurt them. One of them pushed me, I pushed him back. One of them pushed me with his riot shield, I took his riot shield from him.”

Copeland said he still questions the validity of the 2020 election, and was there to support then-President Donald Trump’s baseless challenge to the Electoral College count.

“The reason why I don’t regret going and I don’t regret being there is because the idea was to confront our lawmakers,” Copeland said. “The idea was to try to have a voice.”

The riot at the Capitol resulted in injuries of scores of officers. At least 17 officers remain out of work with injuries from the attack.

“Nobody really harmed any of those officers,” Copeland said. “There were so many of us, and so few of them, they were disarmed really quickly.”

During a May procedural hearing, Copeland swore at the judge and others involved in the proceeding.

“I imagine that I did make it harder on myself,” Copeland told MacFarlane.

A charged defendant granting an interview before trial is extremely rare.

WTOP is seeking comment from Copeland’s attorneys. He is due to appear remotely for a status hearing Monday.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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