January 6 Defendant, Nicknamed “Sedition Panda,” Convicted of Assaulting Law Enforcement Officer

Jesse James Rumson, the man who dressed in a panda costume while participating in the January 6, 2021, Riots at the United States Capitol, has been convicted of assaulting a law enforcement officer, according to court documents.

Earlier this month, Rumson waived his right to a jury trial and opted to trial without jury. He was found guilty on all eight counts by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols on Friday for assaulting and resisting a Prince George’s County corporal. Scott Ainsworth and for broader disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Rumson is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

File: Jesse James Runson, indicted on January 6, US Capitol, January 6, 2021

government exhibition

After rioters broke down a door in the senate wing On January 6, 2021, prosecutors said Rumson jumped over the railings and was “among the first approximately twenty” to access the building through that entrance. Photos from that day show Rumson, wearing a panda costume and wielding a white flag that says, in part, “Don’t tread on me.” Charging documents said some online communities referred to him as “#SeditionPanda.”

While inside the Capitol, prosecutors said Rumson lost his panda head and was apparently handcuffed before being forced out of the Capitol through another door.

But in court papers, prosecutors presented photographic evidence that appeared to show rioters helping to remove handcuffs from Rumson’s wrists.

File: Jan. 6 defendant Jesse James Runson “celebrates as handcuffs come off,” court documents say, Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol.

government exhibition

Once freed, he allegedly ran through the crowd gathered in front of the Capitol and toward a line of officers defending the building. He then allegedly grabbed an officer’s mask, “forcing the officer’s head and neck back and up.”

Prosecutors showed multiple images of Rumson with and without the panda helmet. Rumson was arrested in February 2023, more than two years after the assault on the Capitol.

Ainsworth, the officer who was attacked, testified about Rumson’s assault last week, according to NBC News.

January 6, 2021, indicted Jesse James Runson

Justice Department

The Justice Department has prosecuted more than 1,200 criminal cases following the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Of those, more than 700 had pleaded guilty to various charges and many more have been convicted.