A Michigan man accused of wielding a hockey stick wrapped in a Trump 2020 flag during the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol has asked a federal judge to reconsider his request to be released from jail pending trial. The defendant says that he did not pose a threat to the community and argues the conditions at the jail where he’s being held are essentially a form of torture.
Michael Joseph Foy, also known as “Hockey Stick Man,” was arrested by federal authorities in January for allegedly using his hockey stick to assault Capitol Police officers who were in turn trying to quell the insurrection. In the initial criminal complaint against Foy, the FBI identified a video from an online New York Times article which appeared to show the defendant “aggressively swinging the stick at an individual lying on the ground.”
“The article indicates that the video footage was taken during the attack of a law enforcement officer,” the charging documents stated. “Specifically, the video shows a large crowd of individuals gathered around an entrance to the U.S. Capitol. It further shows the man with the hockey stick lifting the stick above his head and swinging it down rapidly, striking an individual on the ground several times. At no point does it appear that the individual on the ground is acting aggressively, nor does it appear that the attack in justified.”
But Foy’s attorney argued that the government cannot continue to justify his continued detention under controlling precedent concerning bond for Capitol rioters. In the cited case, Muchel v. U.S., Judge Robert L. Wilkins, a Barack Obama appointee, wrote that prosecutors must demonstrate that the person they’re seeking to imprison “posed an articulable threat to the community in view of their conduct on Jan. 6.”
According to Foy, his intent “was never to use the hockey stick as a weapon.” His motion contains no preferred explanation for why he brought the stick to the capitol building in the first place.
“Indeed, when Mr. Foy set out to attend the protest, he deliberately left his lawfully owed firearm at home, precisely because he did not intend to stir up trouble or cause violence. Mr. Foy’s use of the hockey stick cannot be the basis for detaining when there is no fact that the government can point to that suggests his intent to use it in an assault,” the motion stated.
Foy’s attorney also claimed that keeping him detained in Washington, D.C.’s Correction Treatment Facility under current Covid-19 restrictions is even worse than solitary confinement under normal conditions.
“Individuals at CTF and the D.C. Jail have been locked down for 23 hours per day since April of 2020. When incidents occur — and there have been many — residents lose their one remaining free hour per day. For any individual, such conditions represent a ‘grave human rights abuse,’” Foy’s motion stated. “It means no social visits, video or otherwise, no grooming, no time in front of the television — none of the small decencies that make jail even a little bit bearable.”
Foy was charged with obstruction, trespassing, and forcibly assaulting, resisting, or interfering with an officer of the United States — among other things. He is appearing virtually before Judge Tanya S. Chutkan today for a hearing regarding his motion to be released on bail.
Read the motion below.
[image via FBI]