Ralph Joseph Celentano III in images released by federal prosecutors.

Ralph Joseph Celentano III in images released by federal prosecutors. Credit: U.S. Attorneys District of Columbia

A Queens man was arrested and charged Wednesday with assaulting a federal officer and committing other crimes during the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to federal prosecutors.

Ralph Joseph Celentano III, 54, hit a U.S. Capitol police officer from behind with a "football-type tackle," according to court documents, pushing the officer off a ledge and onto a terrace packed with rioters. The officer, an Iraq War veteran, told the FBI that he feared he would be "stomped on" by the crowd.

"I didn’t survive a war to go out like this," the officer told investigators of his thinking during the assault, according to the court documents.

More than 775 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of U.S. Capitol as Congress certified Joe Biden's defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. More than 245 defendants face charges of assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

The rioters falsely believed the presidential election was stolen from Trump, who had spent the two months between his defeat and the certification of votes insisting, without evidence, that he was not the loser.

Celentano, of Broad Channel, also engaged in physical altercations with several other police officers during the Jan. 6 attack, the court papers said. He was captured on body-camera footage and security video assaulting police officers, federal prosecutors said.

He was identified by the FBI through an Instagram photo taken in 2018 at a Jenny Albert Sea Turtle Foundation fundraiser in Broad Channel, authorities said. The photo was also posted on the foundation's Facebook page, and a volunteer confirmed Celentano’s identity to the FBI, according to court documents.

In more than a dozen other photos and video images from the insurrection, a federal prosecutors identified Celentano as a man shown at the Capitol amid the rioting and also fighting with police. In some of the images, the man identified as Celentano is wearing dark sunglasses and a blue baseball cap with "Trump 2020" on the front. In others, the hat and sunglasses are gone as he appears to be holding a rolled up flag while fighting with officers.

A witness who has known Celentano for 13 years also confirmed that he was the man in video and photos taken during the riot, the papers said.

Celentano was scheduled to appear Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui. Celentano also faces charges of civil disorder, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building and offenses related to acts of physical violence, according to the criminal complaint.

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