FBI documents paint partial picture of Cleveland, Tennessee, man's movements during Capitol riot

Federal authorities offered this as one of a series of images in their criminal complaint against Joseph "Jose" Lino Padilla.
Federal authorities offered this as one of a series of images in their criminal complaint against Joseph "Jose" Lino Padilla.

Little is known about the Cleveland, Tennessee, man charged with assaulting police during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., but federal charging documents paint a partial picture of his alleged movements that day.

Joseph Lino "Jose" Padilla is accused of assaulting a police officer and throwing a pole during the riot.

Padilla, 40, is a former member of the Tennessee National Guard, spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Stackpole confirmed Wednesday. He was honorably discharged in 2012.

At around 1 p.m. that January day, lawmakers met to certify President Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election. At the same time, a large crowd of Trump supporters unwilling to accept the results started to gather outside the U.S. Capitol.

Warning: This video may contain graphic or violent content.

Just over 30 minutes later, Padilla is seen on a Metropolitan Police Department officer's body camera wearing a scuba mask over his eyes and approaching the barricade line, according to the FBI's statement of facts. He is seen pushing the barricade in front of him and shouting, "Push! Push! F------ push!"

"After I had my right-hand knuckles and ring finger crushed for just talking to an officer I knew was a soldier and reminding him of his duty to refuse unlawful orders, I got pissed, and so did many others. That's when we started pushing," Padilla would later write on social media.

By 1:38 p.m., officers remove his scuba mask and begin shoving him and hitting him with batons in an effort to get him to stop, the FBI statement reads. Padilla then backed away from the barricade.

"I was beaten unconscious twice, sprayed more times than I care to count, received strikes from batons that should have been lethal (multiple temple and carotid strikes) except that God was on my side," read, in part, one of Padilla's later social media posts.

Shortly thereafter, another video - posted by an obscure social media entity that has since been banned from YouTube for violating its community guidelines - shows Padilla "assisting rioters as they begin to move a large sign on wheels with a metal frame towards the barricade," the FBI document states. He and others "grab the metal sign and begin using it as a battering ram against the MPD officers attempting to hold the line."

A few hours later - the charging document doesn't state when - another video posted to Instagram by photographer "jrobertson" showed Padilla and other rioters gathering in front of a line of police officers who were equipped with riot shields inside the archway of the Capitol's lower west terrace doors.

In the video, located by the Times Free Press on the photographer's Instagram account, Padilla was seen with a bare flagpole standing just to the side of the stairs leading up to the archway. The large group of rioters attacked officers, one even beating them with a hockey stick and another throwing a crutch.

Padilla then could be seen throwing his flagpole - javelin style - at police as other rioters continued attacking the officers. Padilla's flagpole landed just in front of the police line.

photo Contributed by the Bradley County Sheriff's Department / Joseph Padilla

The video showed Padilla got closer to the stair railing and stood there as an officer was dragged through the crowd.

That is the last known information about Padilla's movements on Jan. 6, according to the FBI document.

In the following days, he took to social media to share videos and make statements about his participation in the riot.

"There's a lot of memes and posts flying around saying that the people who were fighting last night were all Antifa provocateurs etc.," he wrote on Facebook on Jan. 7. "I just want to say that as a first-hand observer of every point of last night, that it was not Antifa. They were Patriots who were trying to Restore the Republic after being attacked by the cops, who struck first. Even those who broke the windows next to the doorway to the Capitol were Patriots trying to find a way to turn the Flanks of the cops."

By Jan. 14, law enforcement tried to interview him, according to the FBI's document. But he reportedly responded, "I do not answer questions."

He was arrested by the Bradley County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday and faces six charges, including assault on law enforcement with a dangerous weapon and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

At least six Tennesseans have been arrested for their participation in the riot, according to a U.S. Department of Justice database.

Federal authorities have arrested more than 230 people in the attack on the Capitol, in which supporters of Trump attempted to block Congress from certifying his re-election loss.

Contact Rosana Hughes at 423-757-6327, rhughes@timesfreepress.com or follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

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