Who is Luke Coffee? 'Friday Night Lights' actor accused of beating cop with crutch during Capitol riots

Footage shows Coffee on the steps of the Capitol. Prosecutors say the actor was wearing a brown cowboy hat, a camouflage jacket and a blue bandana. He surrendered to authorities in Dallas on Feb 25


                            Who is Luke Coffee? 'Friday Night Lights' actor accused of beating cop with crutch during Capitol riots
Luke Coffee in the US Capitol riots (Getty Images, FBI)
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DALLAS, TEXAS: A small-time actor from Texas has been charged with using a crutch to beat a cop during the Capitol riots on January 6. Luke Coffee, 41, who appeared as landing strip customer, Randy, in an episode of 'Friday Night Lights', was seen in photos and video using the crutch to assault DC police officer Michael Fanone as he protected the federal building when chaos ensued on January 6, according to a criminal complaint, reports the Daily Beast.

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According to the complaint, the footage shows Coffee on the steps of the Capitol close to the Lower Terrace tunnel entranceway. Prosecutors say the actor was wearing a brown cowboy hat, a camouflage jacket and a blue bandana. He surrendered to authorities in Dallas on Thursday, February 25.

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Luke Coffee in a camouflage jacket at the steps of the Capitol (FBI)

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Who is Luke Coffee?

Coffee is a Dallas native and a professional actor. He has worked on post-production for a few television shows and has appeared on some projects as an actor, including brief stints on 'Friday Night Lights', 'Las Vegas', Jerry Bruckheimer's 'Chase' and a lead role in Ridley Scott's short film 'The Hunt'.

Coffee graduated from Baylor University with a BA in Film/TV, where he played football and eventually walked onto the Baylor football team as a defensive back in his sophomore year of college but he found himself drawn to filmmaking. He spent five years working as post-production coordinator on two primetime television shows for Warner Brothers and NBC/Universal. After LA, he moved across the world to Cape Town, South Africa for six months producing a pilot for a travel-reality series entitled 'Gypsy Kings' that was geared toward the World Cup.

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Luke Coffee (left) in The Hunt (Ridley Scott Associates)

An accident that changed everything

Coffee spent most of his youth in Highland Park, one of the most affluent enclaves in Texas, just north of downtown Dallas. His father worked in real estate and later as a full-time prison minister and missionary in Cuba. His mother taught preschool and went on to become a stay-at-home parent. The family was one generation removed from something approaching Texas royalty, reports Texas Monthly. Russell Coffee, Luke's grandfather, served as an assistant University of Texas football coach to Darrell Royal from 1959 to 1967. One of Coffee's grandmothers, Wynelle Watson Coffee, was married to longtime politician John C White, who served as Texas agriculture commissioner and later as US deputy secretary of agriculture and chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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Luke Coffee in a brown cowboy hat at the steps of the Capitol (FBI)

Coffee began dating a fellow Dallasite, Elizabeth Toon, 22, who he had planned to marry. But in November 2006, while crossing the street as they left a Hollywood bar, the two were hit by a drunk driver who fled the scene. Toon was killed instantly. He was recovering in the hospital from eleven broken ribs, two collapsed lungs, a broken leg, and a torn ACL. He wasn’t able to attend her funeral. Family members agreed that he wasn't the same after the incident. which unleashed a year-long struggle with symptoms resembling post-traumatic stress disorder that Coffee has acknowledged battling. “Luke wasn’t the same Luke after the wreck,” a close relative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said to Texas Monthly. “He became withdrawn and depressed and was never entirely himself again.” 

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After the accident, Coffee returned to Texas to work as an actor, appearing as a right-wing extremist on NBC’s 'Chase' and later as a heavily accented Texan in a series of commercials for Amarillo National Bank. In 2010 he established a full-service production house under the umbrella of his mentor director Rocky Powell's company RockHouse Films. Luke was brought on as a producer for Rocky's first feature film 'Language of a Broken Heart' which opened in 10 cities nationwide. Coffee directed his first feature documentary titled 'Old Man Football', co-wrote, produced and directed the TV pilot 'Cubicle Cowboy' while also partnering on several other pilot projects. He is set to produce 'Texas Angel', a feature he has co-written, alongside Powell who will direct the film. 

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