February 26. 2024. 5:53

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US Capitol rioter pleads guilty to stealing badge from officer badly beaten by mob

A New York man has pleaded guilty to stealing a badge and radio from a police officer who was brutally beaten as rioters pulled him into the mob that attacked the US Capitol in Washington over two years ago, court record show.

Thomas Sibick pleaded guilty on Friday to assault and theft charges for his role in the attack on the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan police department officer Michael Fanone during the January 6th, 2021, insurrection when extremist supporters of then-president Donald Trump tried, unsuccessfully, to force Congress not to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory over him.

US district judge Amy Berman Jackson is scheduled to sentence Sibick on July 28th. She allowed Sibick to remain free on bond until that hearing.

Estimated sentencing guidelines call for Sibick to receive a prison sentence ranging from a low of two years and nine months to a high of nearly six years, according to his plea agreement.

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Rioters relentlessly kicked, punched, grabbed and shocked Mr Fanone with a stun gun after pulling him away from other officers who were guarding a tunnel entrance on the Capitol’s lower west terrace. Another rioter threatened to take Mr Fanone’s gun and kill him.

Mr Fanone’s body camera captured Sibick removing the officer’s badge and radio from his tactical vest during the mob’s attack, according to a court filing accompanying his guilty plea.

[ Trump can be sued by injured police over January 6th Capitol riots, says US justice department ]

Others in the crowd escorted Mr Fanone back to the police line. Before FBI agents showed him the body camera video, Sibick initially denied assaulting Mr Fanone and claimed that he tried in vain to pull the officer away from his attackers.

Sibick said he buried Mr Fanone’s badge in his backyard after returning home to Buffalo, New York. He returned the badge, but Mr Fanone’s radio hasn’t been recovered.

Other rioters have been charged with attacking Mr Fanone, who was badly injured, lost consciousness and was taken to hospital.

Albuquerque Cosper Head, a Tennessee man who dragged Mr Fanone into the crowd, was sentenced in October 2022 to seven years and six month in prison. During Head’s sentencing, Mr Fanone said the attack gave him a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury and ultimately cost him his career.

Kyle Young, an Iowa man who grabbed Mr Fanone by the wrist and handed a stun gun to another rioter who used it on the officer, was sentenced in September 2022 to seven years and two months in prison.

A California man, Daniel Rodriguez, pleaded guilty in February to using a stun gun on Mr Fanone during the attack. Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced on May 16th.

About 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot. More than 500 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanours. About 400 have been sentenced, with more than half getting prison terms ranging from seven days to 10 years. – Guardian