Former Salt Lake officer sentenced for entering Capitol during Jan. 6 riot

Apr 11, 2022, 7:00 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 9:58 am

A federal court document said Hardin sent this photo of himself at the Capitol Crypt to a friend. (...

A federal court document said Hardin sent this photo of himself at the Capitol Crypt to a friend. (Source: Federal Court Document)

(Source: Federal Court Document)

SALT LAKE CITY — A veteran Utah police officer was given a fine and probation in a plea arrangement for his part in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Michael Lee Hardin, of Kaysville, Utah, will be on probation for 18 months and will pay a $500 fine for entering the Capitol as rioters broke through police barricades, damaged doors and windows and caused the evacuation of elected officials who were attempting to certify the 2021 U.S. election for president.

In exchange for his guilty plea to a misdemeanor, three other charges against Hardin were dropped.

In a sentencing memorandum, a lawyer for Hardin stated that generally misdemeanor offenses don’t call for incarceration. The Department of Justice requested 45 days of incarceration for Hardin.

“The offense is a misdemeanor, the misdemeanor of the century perhaps, but a misdemeanor nonetheless,” attorney Scott C. Williams wrote. He also stated that Hardin regrets his actions, didn’t destroy property and that has faced consequences beyond a court sentencing. Williams states:

His occupation and livelihood has been decimated, his reputation and has sullied. His family is fractured. He is suffering, and will continue to suffer, the stigma of his actions. His entire family was detained at an airport and missed their flights in the course of a vacation because Mr. Hardin has unknowingly been placed on a no-fly list by the TSA.

Hardin entered his guilty plea in January after his arrest in April, 2021. He retired from the Salt Lake City Police Department in 2017.

Court records show Hardin flew to Washington D.C. with his mother-in-law, Janet Buhler, who was also arrested for her actions that day.

Buhler was arrested in Salt Lake on July 30, 2021, after a coworker of one of Buhler’s relatives sent a tip to the FBI that identified her, according to court documents.

The documents allege open-source video put her entering the Senate gallery at 2:44 p.m. on Jan. 6 with Hardin.

The sentencing memorandum states that Hardin has no excuse for his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, “especially under the circumstances as they existed at the time he entered. It also claims:

He had fully consumed the Kool-Aid, and moved with a herd and with a herd mentality. He has paid dearly for it. He has lost virtually all that he had in the way of occupation and employment. The direct financial cost has been been significant. The cost on his family, and in the form of stigman, had been significant, and will last well beyond any criminal sanctions that he suffers.

A federal court document said the FBI received several tips that Hardin was at the Capitol on Jan. 6. One tipster said Hardin was a friend and former financial advisor and Hardin sent him several texts.

According to court documents, the texts read, “’We stormed the Capitol, I am in here now!’; ‘I know you don’t like Trump, but He is the rightful President!’ and ‘We will return until we win!’”

The document says Hardin and Buhler were stirred by what they heard from former president Donald Trump.

“They were moved by what they heard, particularly from President Trump. Many were. And in fact, many did move, as encouraged, towards the Capitol.”

Another tipster told the FBI that Hardin was a friend of 20 years texted a photo of him standing next to a bust of Abraham Lincoln inside “what appears to be the Capitol Crypt.”

The court document states that while an initial reaction may be to condemn Hardin as someone who should have known better because of his police service that his 20 years in law enforcement should not be held against him.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)...

Carlysle Price

Juvenile died after crashing motorcycle in West Jordan

A juvenile died Saturday morning after appearing to have lost control of their motorcycle.

2 hours ago

A Utah mountain biker is recalling the moments when a family of badgers approached him at Corner Ca...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Mountain biker recounts aggressive badger standoff in Draper

A mountain biker is recounting a tense standoff with a family of badgers, who got so aggressive they nearly forced him off the trail.

13 hours ago

A hiking trail in Utah County....

Andrew Adams

Rescuers prepare for what could be a busy Memorial Day weekend

Search and rescue crews are getting ready for a potentially busy Memorial Day weekend as they are urging people to prepare for the elements.

13 hours ago

Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attended meetings in Ecuador and Colum...

Carlysle Price

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donates $3.4 million to Project HOPE

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated $3.4 million to Project HOPE to aid vulnerable populations in Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. 

15 hours ago

The Unified police car that crashed into the suspect's yellow car....

Michael Houck and Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Unified police officer hospitalized after being hit by suspect, second officer and suspect also hospitalized

A Unified police officer was hospitalized after being hit by a suspect's truck on Friday, police say.

16 hours ago

Marcus Wilson preforming at the Olympic Oval in Kearns to a group of people....

Peter Rosen

Buskering at Buskerfest

If you're downtown this weekend, you might see a unicycling unicorn. It's not a hallucination, it's Buskerfest. A celebration of street performers.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Former Salt Lake officer sentenced for entering Capitol during Jan. 6 riot