Former South Georgia police officer sentenced in Jan. 6 charge

This image of the January 6 riot, taken from a phone screen, is from a court document submitted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for Washington, D.C. and highlights a man that prosecutors identify as Shane Daughtry.

Combined ShapeCaption
This image of the January 6 riot, taken from a phone screen, is from a court document submitted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for Washington, D.C. and highlights a man that prosecutors identify as Shane Daughtry.

Southwest Georgia resident Michael Shane Daughtry, 60, was sentenced Thursday to three years probation for taking part in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot, a sentence likely to curtail his two chosen professions: police officer and firearms dealer.

Daughtry, a former Pelham Police officer who sold AR-15s and ammunition out of his home prior to the Capitol riot, avoided jail time despite claiming on Facebook that he tore down police-erected barricades as thousands advanced on the Capitol.

Daughtry appeared for sentencing from Georgia via teleconference. He told U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss in Washington, D.C., he did not take part in any of the violence at the Capitol, but stopped short of taking full responsibility for his actions. In a long conversation with the judge, Daughtry denied tearing down fencing, saying he was “boasting” in the moment.

“Very few things on Facebook are true,” he said. “There’s actually was no fencing in the area that I was able to tear down.”

Prosecutors provided photos from Daughtry’s social media showing police officers and intact barricades moments before the crowd surged toward the building.

“He was very proud posting that he was among the first (to approach the Capitol) and was proud of having been involved,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Graciela Rodriguez Lindberg said.

Daughtry did not enter the Capitol during the riot, but he did make it as far as the West Terrace steps where he climbed the scaffolding erected for the inauguration of President Joe Biden to take a photo of the crowd, which he then posted to Facebook. He agreed in March to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor count of entering a restricted area of the Capitol grounds in exchange for prosecutors dropping two other misdemeanor charges.

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This was the officer identification photo for Michael Shane Daughtry when he was an officer with the Pelham Police Department in southwest Georgia.

Credit: Pelham Police Department

This was the officer identification photo for Michael Shane Daughtry when he was an officer with the Pelham Police Department in southwest Georgia.

Credit: Pelham Police Department

Combined ShapeCaption
This was the officer identification photo for Michael Shane Daughtry when he was an officer with the Pelham Police Department in southwest Georgia.

Credit: Pelham Police Department

Credit: Pelham Police Department

Judge Moss on Thursday said he was concerned that Daughtry had not fully accepted responsibility for his actions that day.

“This was not a protest. It was not an everyday event,” Moss said. “That was an attack on this country. ... I think it is clear that Mr. Daughtry knew he shouldn’t be there.”

Moss sentenced Daughtry to serve the first two months of his probation in his home. He has been under monitored home detention in Baker County since his arrest on Jan. 15, 2021. Daughtry also must submit to a mental health evaluation, the judge said.

In court filings, both prosecutors and Daughtry’s defense attorney painted a picture of the lifelong southwest Georgia resident as a man caught up in the political fervor of the moment. Two days before the Capitol riot, Daughtry attended a rally in Dalton where then-President Donald Trump exhorted his followers to “fight like hell.”

“They’re not going to take this White House,” Trump said.

The day after the Capitol attack, Daughtry posted misinformation to Facebook claiming Capitol Police bussed in antifa activists to stage violence.

Daughtry spent 20 years as a police officer in Pelham and nearby Camilla, but he was fired in the days after the presidential election, in part, because of “concerning Facebook posts” regarding his firearms business, according to court documents. Some of those posts suggested customers should arm themselves ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“Anyone needing an AR15 and some extra ammo before the election, I’ve got a couple left in stock,” one post read. “It may be your last chance if the election don’t go right tomorrow!”

On Thursday, Daughtry said he was not advocating violence and was instead referring to possible new gun restrictions should Biden be elected.

Posts after the election became more explicit. On Dec. 18, 2020, he wrote, “When they finally start putting these Democrats in front of the firing squad for treason I hope they’ll let me serve on the firing squad...I’ll even bring my own ammo.”

Again, Daughtry denied the posts had violent intentions but had been misconstrued by investigators. “You get upset. You get mad about stuff. You blow off steam,” he said.

While the misdemeanor conviction will not impact his firearms license, which is not set to expire until 2023, Daughtry is forbidden from possessing firearms under the terms of his probation. Daughtry also said he had offers to resume his career as a police officer, but he said that too would be difficult while on probation.

Daughtry is among 22 people with Georgia ties to have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.