A 37-year-old man from Buffalo, New York, was sentenced Friday to more than four years in prison for his role in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, which included assaulting a D.C. Metro Police officer.
At a U.S. district court hearing in Washington, Thomas Sibick was sentenced to 50 months in prison by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, a Barack Obama appointee. Sibick pleaded guilty in March to one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding a police officer and two counts of robbery.
Sibick acknowledged he grabbed officer Michael Fanone’s police radio and badge shortly after Fanone had been pulled away from an entrance to the Capitol and shocked with a stun gun several times by another person. Fanone is no longer on the force.
Sibick also received 36 months of supervised release and a fine of more than $7,500 for one felony count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and one misdemeanor count of theft, The Hill reported.
Before sentencing, Sibick turned to Fanone and apologized.
“I really am sorry,” he said, The Washington Post reported. “Please forgive me, please.”
Fanone, speaking earlier in the hearing, called Sibick a “coward and a liar.”
Sibick was part of a group that formed on the Capitol’s West Terrace, trying to push past a line of police officers guarding the entrance to the building, the Post reported.
He got hold of a police riot shield passed through the crowd and posed for a photo with it. He stepped back to clear tear gas out of his eyes just as Fanone was pulled out of the police line and down the Capitol steps.
“In an act of cowardice, [he] stripped me of my badge, the emblem of my duty and what I had dedicated my life to for the past 20 years,” Fanone said in court. “My radio was my lifeline; it was all I had in those moments to call for help. It was taken from me to be used as a trophy.”
Sibick’s attorney, Stephen Brennwald, tried to distance his client from others, particularly one who he claimed had assaulted Fanone before Sibick took his badge and radio, D.C. news outlet WUSA-TV reported. Brennwald also said on Jan. 6 that Sibick had been improperly prescribed Adderall, which can cause mania in individuals who have bipolar disorder, as Sibick does.
He argued in a memo that a period of home confinement to be followed by supervised release — accounting for the eight months Sibick already served in pretrial detention — would be adequate for his offense.
Brennwald also said Sibick’s conduct was much less violent than the other defendants who attacked Fanone, WUSA reported.
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