A Virginia man was sentenced to 52 months' imprisonment for attacking police during the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Congress. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo
March 22 (UPI) -- A Virginian man has been sentenced to more than four years behind bars after being found guilty of stealing a baton from police that he then used to beat law enforcement with during the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Congress, prosecutors said.
Geoffrey William Sills, 31, of Mechanicsville, Va., was sentenced to 53 months in prison on Tuesday, the Justice Department said in a statement, adding that he has also been ordered to pay $2,000 restitution and serve 36 months' supervised release.
He was arrested and charged in June of 2021, and found guilty in a District of Columbia courtroom in August of obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon and robbery.
Prosecutors said that Sills was among the mob of then-outgoing President Donald Trump's supporters that descended upon the Capital building on Jan. 6, 2021, in an effort to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.
Court documents state that the morning of the attack, Sills, wearing a black "Make America Great Again" hat and in possession of a pair of black goggles and a black gas mask, traveled to the Capitol by subway, and at 2:13 p.m. had joined those on the West Front of the Capitol grounds.
As the rioters on the West Front breached the line of law enforcement officers, Sills was among them throwing pole-like objects at police in retreat while documenting the clash on Instagram, prosecutors said.
At 2:40 p.m., Sills followed officers who had retreated from the West Front up to the Lower West Terrance and into a tunnel that led from the inaugural platform to the entrance of the Capitol.
In the tunnel, Sills was among a group of rioters who fought police defending the Capitol's entrance, and during the struggle he wrested a police baton from an officer identified in court documents only by the initials C.W.
"As defendant Sills exited the tunnel into the sea of rioters, defendant Sills lifted the baton above his head in what appears to be an effort to signal and galvanize the crowd," the statement of facts said.
Minutes later, Sills re-entered the tunnel and pointed a flashing strobe light at police before using the extended baton to repeatedly beat officers for more than five minutes.
One officer, identified in the court documents by the initials V.B., sustained multiple bruises and recalled having been hit on the head by Sills.
Officer C.W. also said that during the siege he was attacked by a baton-wielding rioter, and suffered "a visible injury to his head," court documents state.
Sills left the area at about 3 p.m., and deleted his Instagram account the next day.
On the day of his arrest, officers executed a search of his residence and recovered, among other items, including a black flashlight with strobe function and a gas mask, a black baton matching the one stolen from officer C.W. during the assault on the Capitol.
Sills was initially charged in an indictment against eight other defendants, five of whom have been convicted while three others await trial.
Since the attack, authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people, including more than 320 who, like Sills, have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.