A U.S. Capitol insurrection defendant who is charged with assaulting police on the frontlines said he has no regrets for his actions, has questions about the 2020 election and acknowledges he was seeking to confront lawmakers while in the crowd on Jan. 6.
Landon Copeland, an Iraq War veteran from Utah, spoke about his actions during the Capitol breach, during a lengthy jailhouse telephone interview with NBC Washington reporter Scott MacFarlane on Saturday.
Copeland is in custody in a Utah jail pending a virtual hearing in Washington, D.C., federal court Monday at 10 a.m. Copeland has not yet entered a plea to a series of federal criminal charges, including violent entry, assault and obstruction of an official proceeding, which refers to the Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College.
Copeland made a series of outbursts during a May procedural hearing in his case, including yelling a string of vulgarities at the judge and court, which delayed some of his court proceedings, according to the court transcript.
Copeland acknowledged making contact with police on Jan. 6 in the interview.
“They were pushing people around and out towards the grass,” Copeland said about the officers. “They were trying to push people over towards toward the gas.”
He said, “I don’t feel like I was doing anything wrong. I was not in a place I was not allowed to be. There was no sign that said authorized personnel only.”
According to charging documents, “Copeland and other people had grabbed a metal fence serving as a barricade, and were trying to pull the barricade away from law enforcement officers.”
Prosecutors said Copeland also grabbed a police riot shield and pushed back at officers. Charging documents said he also grabbed a police officer by the jacket and pushed the officer backward.
“I don’t think I committed a crime,” Copeland told MacFarlane. “I have the capability to where I could have hurt those other individuals, but I didn't hurt them. One of them pushed me. I pushed him back.”
Copeland called MacFarlane from a Utah jail facility by phone early Saturday morning. Copeland, who did not have a lawyer present, gave MacFarlane permission to record the call.
Copeland said, “I don't regret being there, the idea was to confront our lawmakers. The idea was to try and have a voice and try and, you know, speak for people and just be like, you know, we're not getting what we want from our lawmakers.”
Copeland said he did not attend the Trump rally earlier in the day on Jan. 6. He said he and his girlfriend visited historic sites and took a subway trip to Virginia for fast food, before arriving at the Capitol. Charging documents show images of Copeland and an unidentified woman posing near the Washington Monument.
But Copeland said he was — and remains — an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump.
Copeland said he continues to question the validity of the 2020 election. NBC Washington has reported that there’s no evidence of widespread fraud.
“I don’t know what happened with the election,” he said. “I think [Trump] is an excellent negotiator and I would like to see him. Then again, I think it is fair on people like me that he was an honest man.”
Copeland also said, “I don't feel like he did anything wrong. He gave us criminal reform. He gave us a lot of things that a lot of people haven't even made the attempt to do in my lifetime.”
Copeland gained additional notoriety in May, when MacFarlane first reported the outburst Copeland made during a procedural hearing.
Copeland interrupted the judge on multiple occasions. He yelled, “F--- all of you. F--- all of you.”
At another point, Copeland interjected, “How long can I postpone this? I’m a vet. You owe this to me. You’ve all f---ed this up. You’re a robot to me. You can’t come get me if I don’t want you to.”
He also said, “You can’t come kill me if I don’t want you to.” The court has ordered a psychological exam of Copeland.
During his jailhouse interview with MacFarlane, Copeland said his outbursts likely made life more difficult for himself. But he defended his words.
He said he made the interruptions in court to try to defend himself and other defendants against the criminal accusations.
Copeland’s defense attorney did not immediately return requests for comment.
At least 130 U.S. Capitol insurrection defendants are charged with assault on a police officer or resisting arrest.
There are approximately 490 defendants charged with criminal misconduct on Jan. 6, per a review of court filings by MacFarlane and NBC News.
According to court filings reviewed by MacFarlane and Pete Williams, prosecutors estimate another 100 arrests are possible.
Sunday marks 150 days since Jan. 6.