US man gets 87 months in jail for participating in Capitol riot

by IANS |

Washington, Aug 2 (IANS) A Texas man who joined the January 2021 US Capitol riot armed with a holstered pistol and who was reported to the FBI by his son for his role in the insurrection, has been jailed for 87 months, the longest sentence imposed on any of the convicted rioters, the media reported on Tuesday.

The sentencing on Monday comes after the 49-year-old Guy Reffitt was found guilty in March on five felony counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding and interfering with police during the riot on January 6, 2021, reports the BBC.

Reffitt, an oil-field worker, did not actually enter the Capitol with the horde of former President Donald Trump's supporters who breached the Capitol complex as lawmakers met to certify Joe Biden's win in the November 2020 election.

He retreated after an officer pepper sprayed him in the face, but video evidence showed Reffitt egging on the crowd and leading other rioters up a set of stairs outside the building.

According to court documents, Reffitt, who was also an alleged recruiter for the far-right Three Percenters militia, had told fellow members of the group that he planned to drag US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the Capitol building "by her ankles, with her head hitting every step on the way down".

He was reported to the FBI by his son, Jackson, 18 at the time, who told investigators his father had threatened him, the BBC reported.

"He said 'if you turn me in, you're a traitor'," Jackson said at his father's trial earlier this year. "'And traitors get shot'."

While reading out the verdict on Monday, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich said Reffitt's actions and statements were "frightening claims that border on delusional".

So far, nearly 900 people have been charged in the raid on Congress.

Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted in the Capitol attack, including about 80 US Capitol Police and 60 from the Metropolitan Police Department.

Authorities have linked at least five deaths to the mayhem. Four officers who responded to the attack reportedly committed suicide within the next several months.

The worst attack on Congress in more than 200 years, the siege led to Trump's second impeachment by the House shortly before his term officially ended.

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