The first video released of an FBI interrogation of a Capitol riot defendant shows the man crying, wondering if he’s just stupid, and describing his use of a Taser-like weapon on a Capitol Police officer.
“Are we all that stupid that we thought we were going to go do this and save the country and it was all going to be fine after?” a tearful Daniel Rodriguez asked the two FBI agents interrogating him toward the end of a multi-hour interview.
“We really thought that. That’s so stupid, huh?”
Danny Rodriguez: "Am I mental? Am I? Am I just that stupid?… Did we all really just — are we all that stupid that we thought we were going to go do this and save the country and it was all going to be fine after? We really thought that. That's so stupid, huh?" pic.twitter.com/pX902ydrRh— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 1, 2021
Rodriguez was indicted, arrested and interrogated in March. He was indicted again this week alongside two other defendants, this time on charges of conspiracy, inflicting bodily injury on certain officers using a dangerous weapon and obstructing an official proceeding.
“There will be blood,” Rodriguez allegedly texted a group chat the day before the Capitol attack, according to the indictment. “Welcome to the revolution.”
Specifically, Rodriguez is accused of using a Taser-like weapon on Capitol Police officer Michael Fanone amid the chaos on the Capitol steps during the attack — an allegation that, pressed by FBI agents, he described in the March interrogation. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in April.
Video from the interrogation shows Rodriguez breaking down describing his previous support for the “back the blue” pro-police slogan in contrast with his alleged actions attacking Fanone on Jan. 6.
“You know how many times I’ve had to argue with people about backing the blue, and the cops telling us at rallies, you know, ‘stay on the sidewalk’ or ‘it’s time to get out of here’ or whatever? And I’m like, ‘come on, guys. This is not how we back the blue.’ And I tased one of them,” he said, according to video of the interrogation and a previously-released transcript.
Earlier in the interview, prompted by his FBI interrogators as to why he allegedly used an electroshock weapon on Fanone — who by that point was being grabbed by the rioters on the steps of the Capitol — Rodriguez seemed to struggle to come up with an answer.
“So he wouldn’t struggle and get hurt, maybe,” Rodriguez said. “If they’re going to beat him up or injure him or, like — I don’t know if they’re going to — I don’t know what was going to happen to him. And, honestly, I didn’t think very much about it because, when I did it, I was like, oh, my God. What did I just do? And I got out of there. I left. I did it and I left.”
“So you tazered him to protect him?”— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 1, 2021
“I mean, that sounds stupid.”pic.twitter.com/gkN0G1B4RG
A few minutes later, Rodriguez referred to himself as a “piece of shit” and an “asshole.”
“What do you want me to tell you? That I— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 1, 2021
tased him? Yes. Am I a fucking piece of shit? Yes.”
Here’s Trump fanatic Danny Rodriguez confessing to electroshocking D.C. Officer Mike Fanone on Jan. 6.
(Will add key moments of the FBI interview here as the videos process.) pic.twitter.com/p033Qw87ok
Rodriguez’ attorneys have argued that his statements in the interrogation ought to be excluded from his case, asserting that he was not read his Miranda rights until several minutes into the interrogation.
“After hours in the interrogation room, Mr. Rodriguez broke down,” a team of federal public defenders wrote on Oct. 15, asking the court to suppress the interrogation statements because “psychologically coercive tactics, combined with the inadequacy of Mr. Rodriguez’s Miranda warnings, resulted in statements that were involuntary.”
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Washington, D.C. District Court ordered the interrogation video released on Tuesday, after a coalition of press organizations requested access to the evidence. HuffPost reported Ryan Reilly began posting clips from the interrogation soon after.
Like many other Jan. 6 defendants, Rodriguez claimed in the interrogation that he’d gone to Washington, D.C. after “Trump called us.”
“I thought he was calling for help,” he said, according to the interrogation video.
Danny Rodriguez: "Trump called us. Trump called us to D.C… he's the commander in chief and the leader of our country, and he's calling for help — I thought he was calling for help." pic.twitter.com/wIEbvVbfQr— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 1, 2021