Norwalk man charged with felonies in breach of Capitol during Jan. 6 riot

Friday, January 26, 2024
Norwalk man charged in connection with Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Michael Haltom of Norwalk is charged with participating in the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- A Norwalk man was arrested this week on multiple federal charges related to his alleged actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Michael Haltom, 43, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with felony offenses of civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

He is also charged with misdemeanor offenses of destruction of government property, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a Capitol building, engaging in an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

The actions of the crowd that day disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to certify the Electoral College vote related to the 2020 presidential election.

According to court documents, Haltom was identified on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, among a crowd of rioters near the Peace Circle Monument located on the northwest corner of the grounds near the Pennsylvania Walkway. Haltom is allegedly depicted on video footage moving southeast on the Pennsylvania Walkway in the direction of the Capitol building.

Video footage also apparently captures Haltom closer to the building in the West Plaza area of U.S. Capitol grounds where scaffolding was being constructed in advance of the Presidential Inauguration. At roughly 1:30 p.m., Haltom stood near the police line preventing rioters from further advancing toward the Capitol, video footage appears to show.

Haltom is also seen waving other rioters forward gesturing them to push back on the bike rack barricades used by law enforcement to maintain their defensive line, the DOJ alleges.

According to court documents, Haltom repeatedly pushed on the barricades as police officers attempted to hold back the crowd. Law enforcement officers deployed pepper spray to disperse the crowd, but Haltom remained, using both hands to push against the bike-rack barricade even as police deployed the spray directly toward him, federal prosecutors allege.

Haltom then allegedly moved north from the West Plaza toward the covered scaffolding erected over the Northwest Staircase. Rioters overran the entryway to the staircase, and he and others pushed forward into the scaffolding and onto the staircase.

The DOJ contends that with Haltom waving rioters forward, at 2:09 p.m., after overrunning multiple police lines, rioters ascended to the top of the Northwest Staircase to the Upper West Terrace area, which provided access to the west side of the Capitol building.

Haltom apparently moved with the crowd up the stairs after police lines were overrun, making his way to the Senate Wing Door entryway on the west side of the building. He was allegedly among the first rioters to reach the area.

At about 2:12 p.m., rioters used a police shield and lumber taken from the inauguration scaffolding to smash the Senate Wing Door. Rioters then climbed through those windows and kicked open the door to allow access to other rioters. Haltom climbed through the broken window at about 2:13 p.m., less than one minute after the first rioter breached the Capitol building that day, prosecutors allege.

According to the DOJ, after entering the Capitol, Haltom made his way toward the Senate side of the building with other rioters. He eventually reached the entryway to a staircase where he and others confronted a U.S. Capitol Police officer, who was blocking their advance. Haltom and others yelled at and moved toward that officer, who eventually began retreating up the staircase behind him, court papers allege. Haltom was the second person from the front of the crowd pursuing the officer up the stairs, the DOJ says.

Haltom eventually made his way to the Crypt, the House of Representatives side of the Capitol building, and hallway outside the Speaker of the House's Lobby, court papers say.

Prosecutors allege that there, in the hallway, Haltom attempted to kick open a large wooden door leading in the direction of the Speaker's Lobby and House Chamber. Haltom exited the building after being directed out by law enforcement at 2:56 p.m., the DOJ said.

In the 36 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,265 people have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 440 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.