Rochester man pleads guilty to assault on a federal officer

Local News

Acting U.S. Attorney James Kennedy announced on Tuesday that Swyn B. Nelson, 48, of Rochester pleaded guilty to assault on a federal officer.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 8 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that, in the morning on October 5, 2016, a federal Court Security Officer was stationed inside the front entrance of the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building in Rochester.

At that time, he was performing his official duties, which included controlling access to the building, assisting in screening individuals entering the building for any prohibited items, and directing individuals through a walk-through metal detector.

Later in the morning on October 5, the defendant entered the front entrance of the Federal Building to report to the United States Probation Office. The defendant stated that he was at the building to report to his Probation Officer. 

When the Court Security Officer asked for photo identification, the defendant threw his wallet and personal items into a tray in such a way that it caused some of the items to bounce out of the tray. 

The defendant was asked to wait before entering the walk-through metal detector, but did not comply with this order. 

As a result, the defendant was asked to walk through the metal detector a second time.  The defendant did so, and his personal items were then returned to him. 

At that time, the defendant raised his voice, stating “I want to shout at you,” and then walked aggressively toward the Court Security Officer in a restricted area (which is marked off by stanchions, rope and a table). 

The Court Security Officer ordered the defendant out of the restricted area.  The defendant then charged at the Court Security Officer and struck the Court Security Officer on the right side of the head with a closed fist. 

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