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Actor-director pleads not guilty to assaulting police with crutch during Capitol riot

Luke Coffee's credits include an appearance on the hit television show "Friday Night Lights."

WASHINGTON — A professional actor, director and movie producer pleaded not guilty this week to a 10-count federal indictment alleging he assaulted DC Police officers with a crutch during the Capitol riot.

Luke Coffee was arrested in Dallas on February 25 and arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. The actor is charged with assaulting police, violent entry and civil disorder. In charging documents, prosecutors allege Coffee was in the middle of the violent mob on the steps of the Lower Terrace tunnel entranceway at the time rioters brutally dragged, beat and Tased DC Police Officer Michael Fanone.

Coffee is not accused of assaulting Fanone specifically, but court documents allege Coffee can be seen on video grabbing a crutch which investigators say is “the same crutch used by rioters to attack MPD and USCP officers.”

The charging documents state investigators “further observed Coffee pick up this crutch and hold it over his head. At first, Coffee turned and faced the crowd of rioters and then approached the line of police officers with the crutch still over his head.”

Credit: Department of Justice

Coffee is accused of lowering the crutch to push it into the line of MPD and U.S. Capitol Police Officers, which can be seen on police body cam according to the Department of Justice.

Prosecutors say the body-worn camera video also shows that after Coffee was forced back from the officers the Texas man charged at the officers while still holding the crutch in “a more aggressive manner.”

Credit: Department of Justice

Based on the footage, investigators allege Coffee "intended to further use the crutch as a blunt object weapon by positioning the crutch directly toward the officer's upper chest/head area.”

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) lists acting credits for Coffee dating back to 2004. In 2011, IMDb says Coffee had a small role in an episode of the long-running television series “Friday Night Lights." He appeared in the REELZ documentary series “Murder Made Me Famous” in 2017. He is also listed with five producer credits, three director credits and two writing credits.

Credit: Department of Justice

During Coffee’s arraignment, an employee from pretrial services told U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras the 41-year-old actor, who is currently on home confinement, made a request to leave his home to work on projects at his Dallas-based movie production house Coffee Productions.

But pretrial services said Coffee had yet to provide documentation proving his employment there, and an Internet search lists Coffee Productions as “permanently closed,” although a phone number registered to the business remains active. Messages left on that phone number, which had a voice recording of a person who identified themselves as Luke Coffee, and the attorney listed as defense counsel for the actor were not immediately returned.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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