DC man who assaulted police on Jan. 6 sentenced to five-year prison term

A Washington, D.C.-area man has been sentenced to five years in prison for assaulting police officers during the Jan 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol. 

Mark K. Ponder was sentenced on Tuesday in a D.C. court after pleading guilty to assaulting three police officers during the insurrection, per a According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) news release.

According to court documents, at approximately 2:31 p.m. on Jan. 6 Ponder ran out from the crowd of other rioters who stormed the West Plaza of the building to swing a long, thin pole at a Capitol police officer in the area, the DOJ said.

Ponder’s action resulted in the officer’s riot shield, which he used to protect himself, breaking into two pieces, with part of the pole Ponder used flying off to the side, according to the release.

Moments after heading back into the rioting crowd, Ponder re-armed himself with a new, thicker pole that was colored with red, white and blue stripes and around 2:32 p.m. used the new weapon to assault another Capitol police officer, who blocked the move with his riot shield, the DOJ said.

At approximately 2:48 p.m., Ponder joined a rioting crowd that faced off against a line of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers at the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace, using the same stripped pole he obtained to swing at the MPD line and strike a police officer in the shoulder, per the release. 

Ponder’s sentencing comes as authorities have arrested more than 850 individuals for their involvement in the Capitol insurrection, which resulted in the deaths of five people. Two hundred and sixty of those individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement on that day.

Ponder, 56, was arrested by authorities roughly two months after the insurrection, pleading guilty to assaulting, resisting or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon in April. 

In addition to his five-year prison sentence, Ponder must pay restitution of $2,000 and will be placed on supervised release for three years following the end of his prison term, the DOJ said.