Polk County, Florida capitol riot suspects face more restrictions
Federal prosecutors want to limit communication between four local residents accused of crimes in the attack on the United States Capitol10 months after their indictment.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia on Wednesday filed a motion asking a judge to block all communication without an attorney present among the foursome, three of whom were living in Lakeland at the time of the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot.
In the nine-page motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Moeder wrote that the request “is based on the dangerousness of the defendants and the fact that one of their co-defendants is actively evading law enforcement as a fugitive. “. It was a reference to Jonathan Pollock of Lakeland, who avoided arrest on multiple felony charges.
Prosecutors submitted the motion to change the terms of the defendants’ release in response to a show cause order from Judge Carl J. Nichols, who is handling the combined cases.
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The motion applies to Olivia Pollock of Lakeland; Polk City’s Joshua Doolin; Joseph Hutchinson III, formerly of Lakeland and now of Georgia; and Michael Steven Perkins of Plant City. The four were charged in late June and quickly arrested. All are now free on bail.
Jonathan Pollock, 23, was not present when FBI agents raided the family’s property in the Kathleen area on June 30. The FBI recently issued a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to Pollock’s arrest.
All but Doolin face felony charges for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 attack that killed five and injured dozens of law enforcement officers. The intrusion into the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump caused members of Congress to flee for security reasons and temporarily halted certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Prosecutors did not allege that any of the five entered the U.S. Capitol, although some approached an entrance, prosecution documents show.
The Pollock siblings, Hutchinson and Perkins are accused of assaulting law enforcement officers, entering and remaining in restricted areas, disrupting government business and committing violence on the grounds of the US Capitol. Jonathan Pollock faces additional charges of theft of government property.
Doolin, 24, is charged with entering and remaining in a building or property with restricted access and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a building or property with restricted access.
Prosecutors bundled the cases because they claim the five coordinated their trip from Florida to Washington, D.C., and largely stayed together during clashes with law enforcement officers guarding the U.S. Capitol . Doolin is a cousin of the Pollocks, another relative told The Ledger, and Hutchinson and Perkins are friends.
Doolin asked Nichols to separate his file from those of the other four. The judge has not yet ruled on the request.
“A tendency to violence”
In the motion, Moeder writes that the defendants’ actions on January 6, 2021 “were extremely dangerous.” The petition states that the five “assaulted officers breached barricades, carried or acquired weapons and restraints, and planned and coordinated their actions.”
The motion says the defendants “are in a different category of dangerousness than those who encouraged violence or entered the Capitol after others cleared the way.”
The filing describes Hutchinson’s conduct on the U.S. Capitol as “particularly egregious.” He says that in less than 30 minutes, “he was involved in four separate assaults on law enforcement officers, several in close coordination with Jonathan Pollock.”
The motion says the prosecution has no evidence that any of the defendants brought weapons to Washington, DC, but says Perkins used a flagpole to assault two officers. Prosecutors submitted photos and videos to support charges that all but Doolin committed violence.
The prosecution says electronic communications show Doolin considered bringing a gun to the Capitol and expressed his intention to “storm” the Capitol. While outside the federal building, Doolin obtained zip ties, a canister of crowd control spray and a riot shield, the motion says.
“The nature and circumstances of the defendants’ conduct demonstrate a tendency to violence, a flagrant disregard for lawful authority, and a willingness to obstruct and obstruct the lawful function of government,” the motion reads.
Staying on the run
The filing says Jonathan Pollock’s status as a fugitive “also weighs in favor of imposing this condition.” Moeder wrote that Pollock’s ability to evade capture for over nine months “suggests he received help from those close to him”.
Blocking communication between the other four without a lawyer present reduces the risk that they will provide Jonathan Pollock with support to evade authorities, the motion says.
The filing cites previous court cases to argue that the contact ban between co-defendants is common in cases involving multiple defendants who have coordinated to commit crimes. Moeder argues that family relationships or friendships “should not be a barrier” to imposing such restrictions.
Moeder writes that the defendants requested multiple changes to the terms of their release. The prosecution opposed each motion, in part on the grounds that communication between them “presented a danger to the community”, but judges granted some requests.
For example, a provision in Perkins’ original release order preventing him from contacting his co-defendants was revoked. And Nichols has twice approved Hutchinson’s requests to return to Lakeland, once to join Doolin for her wedding and related festivities.
Moeder filed the motion on behalf of Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Moeder’s motion indicates that the defendants oppose the proposed changes to their pretrial terms. It’s unclear how soon Nichols could decide on the request.
Another local resident, Corinne Montoni of Lakeland, was arrested in March 2021 for obstructing official process, entering and staying in a restricted space, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or property. She is being prosecuted separately from other Polk County residents.