WASHINGTON — During an expletive-laden verbal tirade in which he lambasted everyone from a U.S. District Court judge to federal prosecutors, and even interrupted another defendant's hearing, Capitol Riot suspect Landon Kenneth Copeland accused the government of mishandling his criminal case and seemingly threatened to evade authorities if they attempted to revoke his pre-trail release.
“I’m going to tell you what you’re going to do,” Copeland yelled at Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather. “You’re going to give me what the (expletive) I want! You’re going to do what the (expletive) I tell you to do! I’m in the middle of the desert! You can’t (expletive) find me! You can’t (expletive) come get me! You’re going to give me what the (expletive) I want.”
Copeland, a 33-year-old Utah man who described himself in Thursday’s initial court appearance as a veteran “who got shot in Iraq,” faces several charges, including assaulting officers and disorderly conduct, for allegedly attacking several law enforcement officers during the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.
“I am a veteran! I’ve served in Iraq!” Copeland shouted. “I don’t like you guys! You guys have (expletive) this up!”
In court documents, prosecutors accuse Copeland of grabbing an officer's riot shield, shoving a fellow insurrectionist into a police line, and picking up and tossing a metal bike rack at officers.
“I’m tired of everything being behind closed doors and in shadows!” Copeland yelled at the judge.
Copeland’s attorney, Ryan Stout, tried multiple times to calm and silence his client.
“I need you to listen to the judge and the court administrators so we can get through this hearing, OK?” Stout told Copeland.
“(Expletive) all of you all!” Copeland screamed back. “I am so (expletive) off at all of your right now!!!”
Copeland was granted pretrial release after his arrest on April 27. In the midst of Thursday’s chaotic court appearance, Stout told the judge he believed his client was in some sort of a mental crisis, noting Copeland had appeared in two previous court appearances without incident.
“I don’t think he’s being belligerent intentionally,” Stout told the judge. “I believe he’s in crisis. He’s not in a good situation at the moment.”
The judge said Copeland appeared to hang up on the virtual hearing after his attorney’s assessment, only to reconnect and continue his rant.
“I’m not just going to listen to what you have to say. It doesn’t work like this!” Copeland screamed. The court administrator continually tried to mute Copeland’s microphone, only to have Copeland turn his sound back on to continue his attack.
“You don’t understand! You’re killing your own people!” Copeland said before hanging up on the hearing for a third time.
Copeland’s erratic behavior led the judge to question whether or not he is mentally competent to stand trial. She ordered Copeland to undergo a mental evaluation, the results of which will be discussed at a status hearing regarding Copeland’s competency on May 18 at 3:30 p.m. The judge said the hearing will also serve as a continuation of Thursday’s initial appearance, which was unable to be completed do Copeland's outbursts.
Copeland’s conduct may also lead to the loss of his pre-trial release. Prosecutors indicated based on Copeland’s erratic behavior at Thursday’s hearing they may file a motion to detain Copeland before trail.
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