Video Shows Alleged Insurrectionist Wondering If Capitol Rioters Were Actually Just Stupid

Screenshot/Twitter, Ryan Reilly

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?” 

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.” 

A few minutes later, Rodriguez referred to himself as a “piece of shit” and an “asshole.” 

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. 

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: