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NYC man charged with Jan. 6 attacks on US Capitol police

March 9, 2022 Larry Neumeister, Associated Press
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A New York man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of assaulting police officers during last year’s Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol, including an attack that left one officer wondering if he had survived his military service in the Iraq war only to “go out like this,” authorities said.

Ralph Joseph Celentano III, 54, of the Broad Channel neighborhood of Queens, awaited an initial appearance in Brooklyn federal court on charges brought in the District of Columbia federal court. It was not immediately clear who would represent him in court or could comment on his behalf.

In court papers, authorities said Celentano caused one officer to flip over a ledge and onto a terrace below with what the officer described as a “football-type tackle” from someone who “blind-sided” him from behind.

The officer, the papers said, recalled thinking: “I didn’t survive a war to go out like this.”

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According to a criminal complaint, the officer was frightened by the fall but had so much adrenaline at the time that he was not sure whether he suffered injuries from the push. He reported finding bumps and bruises on his body afterward but did not seek medical treatment.

Authorities said Celentano was among a crowd of rioters on the Capitol’s West Terrace whose interactions with officers were captured on video and security cameras.

Celentano, they said, was easy to follow on camera because he had a folding chair affixed to a backpack on his back.

Court papers accused Celentano of carrying out several physical confrontations with uniformed officers on Capitol grounds.

Authorities said evidence against Celentano included a witness who has known him for over 13 years and had identified him in five photographs taken on Jan. 6, 2021.

Celentano is among more than 775 people arrested nationwide since the Jan. 6 attacks. Of those, more than 245 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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