Man charged in Salisbury was arrested after Capitol riot

Courtesy photo

This screenshot from the U.S. Department of Justice shows Jonathan J. Munafo allegedly taking a U.S. Capitol police officer's shield away from him during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

SALISBURY — A New York man charged with threatening a motorist at the town's Interstate 95 rest stop in September was recently arrested on federal charges related to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Jonathan J. Munafo, 34, of Albany was charged with federal offenses, including forcibly assaulting, resisting, impeding or interfering with an officer of the U.S. government; knowingly entering or remaining on restricted grounds without lawful authority and while carrying a dangerous weapon; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Munafo made his initial court appearance in the Middle District of Florida on April 26, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. 

Munafo was on the Lower West Terrace outside the tunnel where he was captured on video while striking a U.S. Capitol Police officer twice in the head and body with his fist, according to court documents.

Munafo then ripped the officer’s riot shield out of his hands and passed it back to others in the crowd behind him. At one point, Munafo used a wooden flagpole to strike a window at the Capitol in an attempt to break it.

In mid-September, Munafo threatened to shoot another driver as they were parked at the Salisbury rest stop, according to Massachusetts State Police. He was summonsed to court on a charge of threatening to commit a crime by Trooper Jack Donaldson. 

Donaldson spoke to the alleged victim minutes after a man driving a crossover-type car with President Donald Trump stickers “all over it” threatened to shoot him while they were parked at the rest stop, according to the trooper’s report.

The report does not say what sparked the confrontation.

The other driver was able to obtain Munafo’s license plate number and gave that information to Donaldson. The trooper checked the plate, which belonged to the New York Naval Militia, and found Munafo’s name and address.

A phone call was made to the Salisbury Police Department, which then transferred the call to state police at the Newbury barracks.

The New York Naval Militia, founded in 1891, is the naval component of the New York state defense force, according to its website.

An Essex County District Attorney's Office spokesperson said Munafo was charged with threatening to commit a crime but did not appear for arraignment. A Newburyport District Court judge then issued a warrant for Munafo's arrest. 

Munafo also faces charges of out Lynn District Court involving assault and battery offenses. He was arraigned Nov. 9 on three counts of assault and battery, threatening to commit a crime and assault and battery on a police officer. The charges stem from an incident on Lynn Shore Drive when he allegedly attacked random people, according to the DA's spokesperson.

Following his arraignment in Lynn, Munafo was released on $500 cash bail. A judge ordered Munafo to stay away from the alleged victim and obtain a mental health evaluation and any treatment deemed necessary. He is due back in court May 13 for a pretrial hearing.

Federal charges against Munafo are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

In the first 100 days after the riot, more than 400 people have been charged with crimes related to the Capitol breach, including over 100 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement officers. The FBI's Washington, D.C., field office listed Munafo as No. 170 on its list.

The investigation continues, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  

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