Sodus man accused of striking officer during Jan. 6 Capitol riots

SODUS, N.Y. — A Sodus man, 55, was arrested last Thursday in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

The Department of Justice says James Weeks participated in the riots that intended to block Congress from ratifying the 2020 election and transfer presidential power to Joe Biden. According to the DOJ, video shows the Wayne County man breaching the Capitol building, striking an officer, and helping to break a window. Weeks is facing felony charges including civil disorder and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers.

The DOJ says Weeks started by breaching the Lower West Terrace Tunnel, a space created to help build the stage for the upcoming presidential inauguration. That was the site of some of the most violent attacks against law enforcement during the riots.

Weeks is accused of reaching through a door with a broken window and striking a Metropolitan Police Department officer inside that tunnel. According to the DOJ, he then went to Northwest Courtyard of the Capitol building and headed toward the Senate Wing Door.

The DOJ says that Weeks was among the people who broke a barricaded window in the Northwest Courtyard. Authorities say that, as a man climbed a windowsill to kick the window, Weeks stood by and shouted “We need volunteers to keep pushing.” The DOJ says more people rushed over to hit the window including Weeks who used a pole and what appeared to be a can of pepper spray. Once the window broke, video shows a crowd cheering and yelling “traitors”.

The FBI in Albany arrested Weeks on Feb. 1 and he made his first court appearance that day. In addition to the felonies, Weeks is charged with multiple misdemeanors including:

  • Destruction of government property
  • Aiding and abetting
  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
  • Engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds
  • Impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings

The case is now in the hands of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. According to court documents, open-source footage, CCTV footage from the Capitol building, and body-worn camera footage helped to identify Weeks.

Since the riots, about 1,265 people have been charged. That includes Rochester-native Dominic Pezzola, a member of the Proud Boys, who was found guilty of several charges but not the most serious charge of seditious conspiracy last May. He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.