U.S. CAPITAL — On Thursday, a former Virginia police officer who stormed the U.S. Capitol was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison, the longest sentence handed down since the Jan. 6 incident.
Former Rocky Mount, Virginia police officer Thomas Robertson was found guilty on all six counts by a jury in April. Jacob Fracker, a former coworker and co-defendant who took a plea deal, testified that if it weren’t for Robertson, he wouldn’t have gone to D.C. to try to “overturn” the election. On January 6, prosecutors told the jury that Robertson “put himself right in the middle of it” at the Capitol by blocking the way of police officers with a stick he had brought with him.
“You were not some bystander who just got swept up in the crowd,” U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper told Robertson as the defendant stood before him, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.
Cooper said he believed Robertson would “answer a call” to violence in the future because he still seems to believe in former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew M. Graves said after the sentencing, “Thomas Robertson, despite swearing an oath of office when he became a police officer, joined the violent mob at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and did so while armed.” Robertson was carrying a stick. The sentence handed down today “makes him pay for his part in the violence that day.”
After their arrest on January 6, both Roberston and Fracker were dismissed from the Rocky Mount Police Department.
The prosecution requested a sentence for Robertson that would have set a new record, but Judge Cooper opted for a sentence near the bottom of the sentencing guidelines. In giving Robertson a sentence that matched that of Guy Reffitt, another Jan. 6 defendant who went to trial, Cooper noted that their cases were similar in many ways.
Cooper stated his doubt that Robertson had truly accepted blame for his behavior on January 6th.
On Thursday, a federal prosecutor said at Robertson’s sentencing that on January 6th, Robertson “used his law enforcement and military training” to prevent Metropolitan Police Department officers from doing their jobs. Robertson, they claimed, displayed “utter disregard for the rule of law” by continuing to deal firearms after his arrest.
The Justice Department claimed in documents filed before Robertson’s sentencing that he lied about his military service and other details of the case.
Prosecutors have focused on a text message sent by Robertson after his arrest in which he boasts that he can “kill every agent that they send for probably 2 weeks.” Possibly for a longer time.”
Cooper was very worried about the things Robertson had done after his arrest, like promoting violence and trafficking firearms.
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