Feds seek prison for rioter in 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt

Federal prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of more than two months for a Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt

Via AP news wire
Monday 16 May 2022 23:29
Capitol Riot Anti Semitic Sweatshirt
Capitol Riot Anti Semitic Sweatshirt

Federal prosecutors on Monday recommended a prison sentence of more than two months for a Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt.

Photographs of Robert Keith Packer wearing the sweatshirt with the antisemitic message went viral after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. When FBI agents asked him why he wore the sweatshirt, he “fatuously” replied “because I was cold,” prosecutors said in their sentencing memo.

“Without expressing any remorse for being part of the rioting that day, Packer continually said it was ‘hard to tell’ which side people were on,” prosecutors wrote.

More than 100 police officers were injured when a mob of Donald Trump supporters attacked the Capitol while Congress was holding a joint session to certify President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols is scheduled to sentence Packer on May 23. He faces a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment after pleading guilty in January to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Prosecutors asked Nichols to sentence Packer to 75 days of incarceration followed by three years of probation and 60 hours of community service.

The words “Camp Auschwitz” were above an image of a human skull on Packer’s sweatshirt. It also bore the phrase “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of the German words above the entrance gate to Auschwitz, the concentration camp in Poland where Nazis killed more than 1 million men, women and children.

Packer, 57, of Newport News, Virginia, is a self-employed pipe fitter and a nonlicensed plumber. Prosecutors say he has a lengthy criminal record, with approximately 21 convictions, mostly for drunken driving and other motor vehicle violations.

Packer told the FBI that he was about 10 to 12 feet away from a rioter, Ashli Babbitt, when a police officer fatally shot her.

“He told the agents he heard the shot and saw her fall back from the window she was trying to climb through,” prosecutors wrote.

FBI agents arrested Packer a week after the riot. He has remained free pending his sentencing hearing.

Packer was evasive and minimized his actions when FBI agents interviewed him, according to prosecutors.

“He was more interested in relaying how he received hate mail and how he was ‘hounded’ by the media for interviews,” they wrote.

More than 790 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Nearly 300 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. Over 170 of them have been sentenced.

Three months is the longest prison sentence so far among rioters who have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, according to an Associated Press review of court records. More than a dozen defendants who pleaded guilty to riot-related felonies have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months to five years and three months.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in