Retired Illinois National Guard member charged with assaulting police in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Joseph Bierbrodt, of Sheridan in La Salle County, allegedly slammed a law enforcement officer against a wall after breaking into the Capitol. His brother was also charged.

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William Bierbrodt (left) and his brother Joseph are pictured during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot inside the U.S. Capitol.

Federal court files

A former Illinois National Guard member was arrested Wednesday after allegedly breaking into the U.S. Capitol with his brother during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and assaulting law enforcement officers inside.

Joseph Bierbrodt, of Sheridan in La Salle County, is facing a slew of federal charges, including physical violence in a Capitol building or grounds, assault on a federal officer, obstruction of law enforcement and entering a restricted building, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Bierbrodt retired from the Illinois National Guard in July 2018, a spokesperson said Thursday.

Bierbrodt and his brother, William, who is also charged in the complaint, were captured on security cameras breaching the U.S. Capitol through the Senate fire door, the complaint states. William Bierbrodt, who lives in Florida, had a “very large beard” and was seen on a mobility scooter, used a cane to break a window and reached inside to unlatch the door, letting other rioters inside.


William Bierbrodt allegedly is seen unlatching a fire door leading to the Senate chamber after breaking a window with his cane.

Federal court files

Joseph Bierbrodt wore a red hat, American flag face-covering and sunglasses. He rushed inside the building after his brother unlatched the door. The brothers and other rioters were met by U.S. Capitol Police, who attempted to stop them. That’s when Joseph Bierbrodt slammed an officer against a wall, the complaint states.

Joseph Bierbrodt then continued deeper into the building and encountered more law enforcement. The brothers were both pepper-sprayed, and Joseph Bierbrodt appears to have been involved in another altercation as photos and video show him bleeding from the chin, the complaint states. The brothers left the Capitol shortly after being pepper-sprayed.

In late October 2021, the FBI obtained images showing the brothers at the Capitol during the riot, and used facial recognition technology to identify Joseph Bierbrodt. Another National Guard member also identified Joseph Bierbrodt for law enforcement, according to the complaint.


Joseph Bierbrodt (identified by the red square) allegedly is shown attacking an officer in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Federal court files

The FBI identified William Bierbrodt in September of last year and conducted surveillance of his home. They uncovered social media posts by him on Parler advocating “violence against members of a different political” ideology, the complaint states.

One post reads “all Obama cronies should be taken tied to a stack and shot in the head,” and adds “time for a revolution French style,” according to the complaint.

Joseph Bierbrodt was released from custody after posting bond, according to court records. His next court date was set for Aug. 8. Court information for his brother was not immediately available.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct that Joseph Bierbrodt retired from the Illinois National Guard.

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