Accused Capitol rioter says Trump should be banned from running again

Suspect accused of stealing a DC police officer’s badge says the former president ‘should be ostracized from any political future’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Tuesday 26 October 2021 18:33
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A District of Columbia federal judge on Tuesday allowed an alleged pro-Trump rioter accused of participating in the assault of a Washington, DC police officer and stealing his badge and radio to return home on house arrest after he exhibited a striking change of heart regarding the man for whom he allegedly stormed the Capitol on 6 January.

The accused rioter, 36-year-old Thomas Sibick of Buffalo, New York, was released to 24-hour home confinement in custody of his father by US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who ordered him to stay away from Washington, DC, continue psychiatric treatment, refrain from watching any television news or political programmes, and stay off social media.

Mr Sibick is accused of forcibly assaulting DC Police officer Michael Fanone, stealing his badge and radio, attempting to steal his police-issued service pistol, engaging in acts of physical violence within the Capitol building, and other violations of law stemming from the worst attack on the Capitol since the 1814 burning of Washington by British troops.

He has been in government custody since 12 March, when federal agents arrested him in his home town of Buffalo. Since 17 March, he has been held in same the District of Columbia jail facilities as other accused pro-Trump rioters.

But while many of his fellow 6 January defendants have continued to rally around the lie that the election was stolen from former president Donald Trump and embraced the notoriety they’ve achieved in far-right extremist circles, Mr Sibick has taken a different path.

In a letter to Judge Jackson accompanying the motion to be released from the District of Columbia jail which his attorney filed earlier this month, Mr Sibick wrote that the events of 6 January “a disgrace to our nation that left a scar [former president Donald] Trump is responsible for”.

Mr Sibick added that he now “loathe[s]” Mr Trump and said the former president’s “words and actions are nefarious” and are “causing pain and harm to the world”.

“He is not a leader and should be ostracized from any political future, what he honestly needs to do is go away!” he continued.

As she ordered Mr Sibick’s release, Judge Jackson said she felt compelled to do so by the “toxic environment” he faced in the DC jail facility where many of the 6 January defendants are housed.

According to Vice News, the roughly 40 accused rioters housed there have dubbed their unit the “patriot wing” and embraced their status as what some GOP elected officials call “political prisoners”.

A letter from one such defendant published by ProPublica says the defendants, all of whom have been deemed too dangerous to release until their trials, sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” each night and communicate with each other through handwritten newsletters.

“We have been labeled the enemy, yet clearly we see tyranny as the enemy,” the letter reads. “While our lawyers do our bidding and the judges do their duties, we remain resolute, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem all in unison, loud and proud most every day”.

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