Thomas Robertson (R) was sentenced to more than seven years in prison on Thursday after breaching the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, with co-defendant Jacob Fracker (L). Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Department
Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A U.S. federal judge in Washington, D.C., has sentenced a former Virginia police officer to more than seven years in prison for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol building.
Judge Christopher Cooper of the U.S. District Court sentenced 49-year-old Thomas Robertson of Ferrum, Va., to 87 months in prison on Thursday after he was found guilty by a jury in April on six charges, including five or which were felonies, including obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder and entering and remaining in a restricted building while carrying a dangerous weapon.
"You were not some bystander who just got swept up in the crowd," Cooper told Robertson during sentencing, according to The Washington Post. "It really seems as though you think of partisan politics as war and that you continue to believe these conspiracy theories."
Robertson and his 30-year-old co-defendant Jacob Fracker were arrested Jan. 13 of last year, days after the two had breached that U.S. Capitol building along with a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump who were trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden as the next leader of the country.
The pair were law enforcement officers with Virginia's Rocky Mount Police Department, and prosecutors said they drove together to Washington, D.C., on the morning of Jan. 6 in Robertson's car, in which they left their police identification and firearms upon their arrival.
Court documents state they attended the "Stop the Steal" rally on the National Mall before heading to the Capitol. They both then donned gas masks and approached the Lower West Terrace where Robertson, who was carrying a large wooden stick, confronted law enforcement agents defending the facility.
Prosecutors said Fracker entered the Capitol at 2:14 p.m. and was followed minutes later by Robertson with the pair meeting inside the Crypt where they performed obscene gestures before a statue of John Stark for a selfie.
Following the breach, Robertson boasted about his actions on social media, stating "the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government," according to the statement of facts in the case. He also wrote he was "proud" of the photo as "[i]t shows 2 men willing to actually put skin in the game and stand up for their rights."
"If you are too much of a coward to risk arrest, being fired and actual gunfire to secure your rights, you have no words to speak I value," he said, according to a screen grab of the post included in the court document.
Prosecutors also said Robertson destroyed his and Fracker's phones and hide the evidence after learning they had been criminally charged for attacking the Capitol.
"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," U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said in a statement. "Today's sentence holds him accountable for his role in the violence that day."
Fracker pleaded guilty on March 18 to a federal conspiracy charge and is to be sentenced on Tuesday.
More than 860 people have been arrested in connection to the siege, authorities said, including 260 people charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo