This Accused Capitol Rioter Beat His Pregnant Girlfriend and Threw Her Into a Canal

Ryan Samsel was seen in video footage wearing a red MAGA hat and standing on the front lines of rioters as they pushed past Capitol police.
June 3, 2021, 3:35pm
Ryan Samsel, 38, at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Ryan Samsel, 38, at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Source: FBI)

An accused January 6 insurrectionist who’s facing charges for allegedly attacking an officer during the Capitol riot has a history of “choking and beating women to the point of loss of consciousness,” according to federal prosecutors. 

Ryan Samsel’s record of violent assault and domestic violence, dating back to 2006, was brought to light in court documents filed earlier this week as part of the government’s argument for why he should remain in jail pending the outcome of the trial. 


Samsel, 38, from Bristol, Pennsylvania, was seen in video footage from January 6 wearing a red MAGA hat and standing on the front lines of rioters as they pushed their way past rows of Capitol police. Prosecutors say that he shoved a female Capitol Police officer, causing her to bash her head into the ground, leaving her “semiconscious.” She later blacked out, and was treated for a concussion at a hospital. 

His behavior that day, prosecutors say, is consistent with his past. In 2009, for example, Samsel was apparently convicted of assault and reckless endangerment when he held a woman against her will for five hours, choked her to the point of unconsciousness, beat her up, and chipped her teeth. 

Two years later, he was convicted on charges linked to attacking his pregnant girlfriend. Prosecutors said he smashed a hot pizza in her face, beat her up, threw her into a canal, and held her head under water. She escaped from him and ran barefoot through the street until she saw a parked police vehicle and “desperately tried to open the door” until the officer saw her and unlocked it so she could get in. 

Years later, another woman said that Samsel had choked her to the point of unconsciousness on several occasions, raped her, and broken into her house multiple times to attack her. She obtained a restraining order against him, but said he had violated it multiple times. 

Samsel is not the only accused Capitol rioter with a documented history of domestic abuse. A HuffPost investigation from early February identified nine other insurrectionists who have either faced charges, jail time, or been hit with restraining orders, due to domestic violence or sexual assault. 

Lawyers representing Samsel were seeking his release after he was allegedly brutalized by two D.C. jail guards in March, which they say left him with a broken nose and dislocated jaw. The assault, according to his lawyers, also aggravated a pre-existing medical condition and that he’s been experiencing seizures ever since. According to the Washington Post, that alleged attack is under investigation. Prosecutors acknowledged the seriousness of his medical condition, but argued that it does not outweigh the danger he presents to the public. 

“Reviewing the police reports from these prior incidents reveals a pattern of Samsel not only threatening to kill others, but coming extremely close to actually doing so,” prosecutors wrote. “The courts have repeatedly failed the public and these victims when it comes to Samsel. No condition or combination of conditions that could ensure the safety of the community if he were to be released.”