The Look in Brief

Sumner County man pleads guilty to charges in 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection

By: - July 29, 2022 6:59 am
Ronnie Presley of Bethpage, Tenn., on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Court records)

Ronnie Presley of Bethpage, Tenn., on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Court records)

A Tennessee man who stormed inside the U.S. Capitol Building during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and fought with police pleaded guilty Thursday.

Ronnie Presley, 43, of Bethpage, Tenn., in Sumner County pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia Thursday to a charge of interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder. Presley is among 19 people with Tennessee connections charged in the violent attack on the Capitol.

According to court records, Presley entered the Capitol Building “through the Upper West Terrace doorway,” moved to the Rotunda and shouted, “Fight for this!” As “multiple law enforcement officers attempted to clear the Rotunda of rioters, Presley”disregarded verbal commands from the officers to leave,” the Department of Justice stated in a statement of facts filed in connection with Presley’s plea.

“(Presley) physically confronted one officer by leaning into the officer’s baton,” the statement read. “Several minutes later, Presley left the Capitol Building through the east Rotunda doorway. However, he remained directly outside. When a police officer attempted to clear that area of rioters … Presley grabbed and pulled on a police riot shield.”

Presley was photographed inside the Capitol while seated on a couch and talking on a cell phone. A Bloomberg News journalist later captured Presley on video, and he readily offered his name, according to media reports at the time.

In the video, Presley can be heard shouting into his phone, “I’m standing on the steps of the Capitol. Yeah? Can you see me? I’m on the top step of the (expletive) Capitol, Bill! With everybody. You can come too.”

Presley was arrested in Nashville in March 2021 after an investigation by the FBI’s Memphis and Nashville field offices.

Presley’s plea agreement shows he has prior criminal convictions for domestic violence, reckless endangerment, burglary and driving while impaired and was on probation for domestic assault at the time of his participation in the Capitol riots.

A sentencing date for Presley has not yet been set. According to court records, Presley faces a maximum two-year prison term.

presley plea facts

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Jamie Satterfield
Jamie Satterfield

Jamie Satterfield is an investigative journalist with more than 33 years of experience, specializing in legal affairs, policing, public corruption, environmental crime and civil rights violations. Her journalism has been honored as some of the best in the nation, earning recognition from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Awards, the Green Eyeshade Awards, the Tennessee Press Association, the Tennessee Managing Editors Association, the First Amendment Center and many other industry organizations. Her work has led to criminal charges against wrongdoers, changes in state law and citations in legal opinions and journals. She was married to the love of her life for 28 years and is now a widow and proud mother of two successful children of good character and work ethic.