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Prosecutors had previously said Thomas Sibik was spotted in police body-camera footage tearing Fanon’s badge and radio while lying on the ground outside the Capitol. Fanon collapsed after the attack and was hospitalized, and later in a CNN interview recalled that the rioters teased him and tried to pull his weapon out of his holster.
Sibik, who has been charged with 10 federal offenses, including assaulting and robbing an officer, has pleaded not guilty. He has been in jail since his arrest in March but argued that new police body camera footage showed the conversation was a failed attempt to help Fanon. Sibik is a recent high-profile Capital riot defendant who argues that video footage of his attack repeats that moment and that he was actually trying to help unsuspecting police officers.
“He could help in the nursing home. He could help in prison. He could be a helper in life, but he wasn’t helping on Jan. 6,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Friday. Took a “unique, purposeful, independent action” to reach and capture Fanon’s equipment.
“He doesn’t hold him, he helps him, he protects him with his body,” Jackson said.
Sibik’s lawyer, Stephen Brenwald, argued that he “just held out his hand … and the officer’s belongings were there.” When Sibik arrived safely, Brainwald said, he tried to use the radio to call for help.
But, Jackson noted, Sibik pressed the emergency button 18 minutes after the attack, and Fanon’s 16 minutes later “others returned safely and fell unconscious.”
Jackson expressed concern about Sibik’s repeated alleged lies to investigators about stolen police badges and radios, although he does not have to face charges for lying to the FBI. Sibik first claimed he left the badge in DC, then said he threw it in the dumpster, then confessed to burying it in his backyard, according to court documents.
Sibik’s family was sitting in court during the proceedings. The first time they saw each other after he was imprisoned, Brainwald said, Sibik was crying.
Cibik has shown “more than what you call good behavior” in prison, Jackson added.
But Sibik has struggled in recent weeks, Brenwald said. Other inmates were giving Sibik a hard time as a “goodie-goodie” and he has been voluntarily separated from other inmates for the past two weeks to escape persecution.
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