Bizarre: Video used to charge Jan. 6 defendant actually exonerates him, attorney alleges


The following includes editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

WASHINGTON, DC- While the Biden administration considers swapping a deadly terrorist for a lesbian basketball player and a prisoner to be named later, due to what leftists are referring to as a “miscarriage of justice,” there are hundreds of Americans languishing in the American equivalent of a Soviet gulag for trespassing at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

That is a true miscarriage of justice.

For those who are being held, the circus surrounding the “investigation” into the Jan. 6 insurrection would make Vladimir Putin proud.

One victim of that investigation is former sheriff’s deputy Ronald Colton McAbee, 28, of Tennessee. According to an exclusive piece in the Epoch Times, McAbee has, since being indicted in connection with the siege at the Capitol been subject to:

  • A death threat levied at him by a fellow law enforcement officer as he stood shackled in belly chains;
  • Being described as a terrorist by a federal judge who is tasked with presiding over his trial;
  • Being released on bail by a U.S. magistrate in Tennessee, only to be then ordered held without bail by a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C.

This is in the United States, not in Russia. This is where citizens are granted a number of rights (unlike Russia, where Brittney Griner claims she wasn’t “advised of [her] rights.”

Probably the most egregious act of malice toward McAbee is the fact that one of the reasons he is being held without bail, as if he had attempted to kill a sitting U.S. congressman (oh, never mind), is based upon a video which his attorney claims actually exonerates him.

“What makes the government’s case weak is the fact that the videos actually exonerate Mr. McAbee of the very allegations made against him, and Mr. McAbee is motivated to appear for trial, take the stand, and narrate those videos for [the] jury,” his attorney, William Shipley wrote in a May 2022 motion seeking to have his client released from jail.

As mentioned, McAbee is a now former sheriff’s deputy who served in the states of Tennessee and Georgia for over seven years as both a deputy and a correctional officer.

He has been charged with seven crimes, among them assaulting, resisting or impeding a federal officer. In other words, McAbee—a seasoned law enforcement professional—stands accused of assaulting the very people he worked alongside. It makes little sense.

The story unfolds on Jan. 6, 2021, when McAbee stood outside the Lower West Tunnel entrance amidst some of the worst violence that took place on that date.

He was attempting to render medical aid to an injured woman, Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia. His interactions while trying to save the dying woman’s life with DC Metro Police officers is what led to a majority of the charges he faces.

Nearly six months after the Capitol siege, McAbee was arrested on Aug 17, 2021. Just over a week later at a detention hearing, he stood accused of assaulting DC Metro officer Andrew Wyatt.

It was alleged that Wyatt had fallen at the tunnel entrance and then McAbee—still suffering from a broken shoulder related to a car accident just nine days earlier—allegedly pulled Wyatt down concrete stairs where he faced a hostile crowd.

During the detention hearing, a video was played for the court, minus sound according to Sarah McAbee, Ronald’s wife. According to the Epoch Times, that lack of audio proved crucial in telling the truth of what happened.

Despite the video, Magistrate Judge Jeffery Frensley released McAbee despite protestations of the U.S. Department of Justice, and ordered him released pending trial.

In releasing McAbee, the magistrate said:

“I do not believe that Mr. McAbee poses a future danger to the community if he were to be released between now and the time that he resolves this case,” Frensley said.

“And the government, despite my request that they provide me any evidence that he’s presented any sort of a danger to the community, have been unable to point to absolutely nothing beyond the events around and during January the 6th.”

The judge also noted that based on what he witnessed on the video, it was open to interpretation, and reminded the court that the guilt or innocence of McAbee could not be part of the consideration for bond.

“We have a system that presumes innocence, and for me to make a decision where I become judge, jury, and executioner all in the same role without affording him the rights he’s entitled to under the constitution is inappropriate,” the judge said.

“And that’s the important distinction between the bond decision and the decision on guilt that will follow at trial.”

Contrast that with what happened to the man who attempted to assault Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who is running for governor in that state. He attempted to attack Zeldin with a knife, yet mere hours later was released without bond. Who is the greater threat to the public?

Mere weeks later, however McAbee would learn that his freedom had been short-lived. Federal prosecutors filed an “emergency” appeal in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the same day Frensley released him.

Senior District Judge Emmett Sullivan, an unhinged radical, stayed Frensley’s order and scheduled hearings on the DOJ’s motion to keep McAbee locked up.

Because understand, this is not about the individuals who protested at the US Capitol on Jan. 6.

This is about trying to ensure that former President Trump is held accountable for the actions of those who did, and anyone who happened to be caught up in the protest must be made to pay in order to achieve the bigger goal—making sure that Trump is never again able to run for public office.

Make no mistake about it…that is the goal. And people like McAbee are by and large innocent victims, just along for the ride.

Sullivan, during a Sept 22, 2021, hearing didn’t even try to hide what he would eventually rule. Instead of acting in the capacity of a neutral arbiter, Sullivan was clearly there to rubber-stamp the government’s request.

Sullivan was shown a video with McAbee wearing body armor and a patch that read “Sheriff.”

“That’s pretty outrageous,” Sullivan opined, according to an official transcript of the hearing.

“These videos are very disturbing,” he would later say.

He made a number of other statements during the proceeding signaling that he agreed with the prosecution.

It was then when Sullivan made perhaps the most egregious statement:

“So it appears clearly to this court that the defendant is pulling the officer back into the crowd of other terrorists,” Sullivan said.

Weeks later on Oct 13, 2021, Sullivan reversed Frensley’s order and ruled McAbee held without bond pending trial. A written ruling was issued two months later on Dec. 21, 2021.

Despite the fact that McAbee had committed no acts of violence between Jan. 20, 2021, and his arraignment that August, which Frensley took into account, Sullivan ruled he was a danger to the community and ordered him held in jail.

“The court concludes that clear and convincing evidence supports a finding that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community,” Sullivan wrote in his 41-page ruling.

McAbee’s wife Sarah was floored.

“It’s just the craziest situation, them saying he’s a danger to the community when he’s been a law enforcement officer and never has had stripes on his record, let alone a speeding ticket,” she told the Epoch Times.

So McAbee was locked up inside the Washington, D.C. equivalent of a Soviet gulag where he still languishes.

However McAbee may have caught a break when a video investigator named Gary McBride of Texas took a forensic view of the bodycam footage shown in court—this time with the audio actually turned on. That marked a significant change in the narrative painted by federal prosecutors which Sullivan bought into hook, line and sinker.

McBride told the Epoch Times that the prosecutors didn’t play the audio portion of Wyatt and McAbee talking during their interaction.

“The prosecutors did not play the audio of AW [Andrew Wyatt] and McAbee talking during this point,” McBride said in a video he made about the evidence. “McAbee is trying to save AW. Prosecutors didn’t play that in court.” [emphasis added]

Clearly, the government is attempting to make an example of McAbee, as they are of so many others. Based on this evidence alone, McAbee should not only be released from the DC jail, but should have at least some of the charges dismissed outright.


According to McBride, the video analysis showed that despite assertions by federal prosecutors that McAbee pulled Wyatt down the stairs, in fact he was swept backward and lost his balance due to two protesters pulling on the officer’s legs. McAbee was standing over Wyatt at the time, causing him to fall on top of Wyatt where he lay over him for about 25 seconds.

At this time, some of those in the mob started to call him a traitor for his apparent efforts to assist Wyatt. As someone in the crowd attempted to grab the fallen officer, McAbee shouted “No!” and “Quit!” Does this sound to you like someone who was attempting to injure a fellow comrade? Absolutely not.

“At that point, my husband just saw an officer down and an officer needing help, because the first thing he says when he pops in around the tunnel before he gets around the rail is, ‘Hey you guys have a man down,’ ostensibly to other police officers, Sarah McAbee said. She said since nobody stepped up to help Wyatt, “he’s [her husband] the one who jumped into action.”

Sarah told the Epoch Times that her husband’s story has remained 100% consistent since the day of the Capitol siege, and expressed relief that the video analysis appears to back up that account.

She noted that after the incident, Ronald called her and advised her of what had just happened, while she noted that there’s a picture on the FBI’s website showing him on the phone.

“I know that’s a phone call with me about everything that just went down.

“His story has not changed from that day to today. He’s just not a liar. That’s just not who he is and even the little details have always remained the same.” 

Both McBride and McAbee’s wife insist the audio portion of the video should have been disclosed as exculpatory evidence.

If in fact the government withheld that evidence, that should be enough to get a mistrial, however the odds of Sullivan ordering that are slim and none.

The audio portion of the video shows Ronald McAbee talking to Wyatt:

“Hey, I’m one of you. Let you know when you’re ready to get up. I’m going to help you up.”

“And they get up together,” Sarah said. “That’s not him assaulting anybody. It’s the same videos, they just wouldn’t play the audio in court, because the audio is so detrimental to their case.”

McAbee’s legal team developed a transcript of the audio, where someone in the crowd referred to McAbee as a “traitor!” At that point, McAbee asked Wyatt, “You ready?” He then added, “I’m one of you. I’m one of you.”

Wyatt then replied, “Let go of me, man!” to which McAbee replied, “I’m helping you.” Wyatt then replied, “I know. I know. Help me up.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for comment. Public Information Officer William Miller refused to comment:

“We typically do not comment on cases beyond our public filings and statements to the Court and have no comment,” he said in an email statement.

One of the charges levied against McAbee is related to a pair of motorcycle gloves he had on during the Jan. 6 incident.

As previously noted, McAbee had been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident on Dec. 27, 2020, where he suffered a broken shoulder.

Despite that, he felt strongly enough about what he believed to be the injustice of the 2020 election that he chose to go to DC on Jan. 6, 2021.

The gloves were designed with carbon-fiber reinforcements in the knuckles and fingers and are meant to protect hands from flying debris  while riding or from injury in the event of a crash.

Those gloves, which can be purchased at any motorcycle shop and  on Amazon as well, were classified as “deadly weapons” by overzealous federal prosecutors.

McAbee’s reasoning for the gloves was related to the violent attacks by the terrorist group Antifa against Trump supporters at other events in Washington, DC, most notably the one where Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and his wife were attacked by an unhinged mob after leaving a Trump event at the White House.

In the case of Jan. 6, there is zero evidence he used the gloves in any type of offensive or violent manner, according to his attorney.

Sarah and Ronald have been married since 2016 and to say the past year has been a nightmare would be a vast understatement. When Ronald was initially arrested, she drove five hours to a Kentucky detention center to see him, and had confirmed the night before with jail staff that it was ok to visit. On arriving, she discovered he had been transferred to another facility.

Thus began a journey where he was flown from Lexington, Kentucky to Atlanta, and then to Oklahoma. Sarah related a story her husband told her about waiting to board the flight in Atlanta, where an officer asked him about his charges of allegedly assaulting a police officer.

“He’s trying to explain it to him. [The officer] looked at him and said, ‘You touch one of my officers, you’re dead,” Sarah said. “My husband is like, ‘You can’t threaten me like that…I’m bound by waist chains. What do you think I’m going to do?”

Ronald was eventually transferred to the DC Central Detention Facility, not-so-affectionately referred to as the “DC Gulag” by Jan. 6 defendants.

In the filing seeking reconsideration of McAbee’s pretrial detention, his attorneys point out that prosecutors engaged in “misrepresentation of the video evidence” while also slamming Sullivan.

“There is no evidence—it did not happen as admitted by the government—that Mr. McAbee assaulted Officer AW while Officer AW was in that vulnerable position,” Shipley wrote.

In fact, McAbee was actually thanked by a Metro PD officer, Steven Sajumon for his assistance in getting Wyatt back to the police line.

“That exchange is captured on the audio of the video submitted with the motion,” Shipley wrote.

McAbee’s former attorney in Tennessee, Isiah Grant quoted the officer as saying, “Hey, man, thank you. We appreciate you.”

Epoch Times said they reached out to the Metro Police for comment, however Makhetha Wilson, a spokeswoman for the department’s Office of Communications, refused to do so.

In slamming Sullivan, Shipley alleges that Sullivan had made numerous statements indicating outright acceptance of prosecution evidence and had already deemed McAbee guilty.

He noted that Sullivan said McAbee had allowed his personal beliefs “to override his sworn duty to uphold the rule of law as a law enforcement officer and even [fought] against officers with whom one would expect he had a mutual respect or kinship.”

“This is another pronouncement of Mr. McAbee’s factual guilt by this court,” Shipley wrote.

Sullivan has yet to rule on the motion, but with history as a guide, one can bet he won’t grant it.

Sarah McAbee noted that she is especially proud of her husband for attempting to provide aid to Boyland,  with the video showing him assisting another bystander in giving CPR to Boyland after she was pulled away from a police line where she had been beaten. He assisted in carrying her in front of the police line, where he resumed giving her CPR.

“I would expect nothing less of him. It makes me proud to be his wife to know that he, at the expense of himself, tried to save somebody else,” she said. “You know, he just runs into action. He was in life-saving mode.”

If the video evidence in this case is true, and why wouldn’t it be, this is an overwhelming miscarriage of justice, done in the “best” traditions of the Soviet Union and third-world countries.

This is the United States of America. We are better than this. Or at least, we were.

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