A federal judge came down hard on accused Capitol rioter Daniel Goodwyn for refusing to wear a mask when in contact with officers before his trial, telling the member of the far-right group the Proud Boys: “We have a virus that is killing people — why is it so hard to wear a mask?”
In a virtual hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton slammed Goodwyn for his attempts to reject a mask after his January arrest and for continuing to refuse to wear one since with pretrial services officers.
Goodwyn was charged in January with entering the Capitol during the violent Jan. 6 riot, and has been released on home confinement before his trial. The government said Goodwyn tried to chew through a mask and spit it out when arrested in January, forcing the FBI to go through about five masks during his arrest. Then in June, Goodwyn again refused to wear a mask in the pretrial services office.
“We have a virus that is killing people,” the judge said Friday, noting that if Goodwyn continued to not comply, he would be arrested and jailed. “Why is it so hard to wear a mask?”
After Goodwyn responded that it “stresses [him] out” to wear one, the judge said he wouldn’t “be a part of other people dying because of what you don’t believe.”
Then when Goodwyn said he didn’t believe masks reduced virus transmission, Judge Walton asked: “When did you go to medical school, sir? Do you have a medical degree?”
Goodwyn’s lawyer said his client was not vaccinated and claimed Goodwyn was autistic. Goodwyn’s mother said her son saw an autism specialist and she believes he has Asperger’s syndrome. The judge said he wants proof of the diagnosis, and he was holding off on issuing an arrest warrant given the potential diagnosis.
Goodwyn is one of more than 400 people that federal authorities have arrested and charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden won. Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol Police officer.
Coronavirus cases are on the rise across the country as the highly contagious delta variant spreads, with cases overwhelmingly among people who are unvaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged people to wear masks indoors, even if vaccinated, in areas of substantial or high transmission.
Ryan Reilly contributed reporting.