THE THIN BLUE LINE
An off-duty Virginia cop who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 alongside a fellow officer has been sentenced to over seven years in prison, the Associated Press reports.
Former Rocky Mount Police Sgt. Thomas Robertson was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison along with three years of supervised release after his term ends. His sentence matches that of Guy Reffitt, a Texas man who stormed the Capitol while armed with a handgun.
Robertson has been jailed since U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled last year that he violated the terms of his pretrial release by possessing firearms. he was given credit for 13 months served.
He was convicted of interference with police officers, entering a restricted area with a weapon, along with four other charges.
In a letter addressed to the judge, Robertson said he takes full responsibility for his actions on Jan. 6 and “any poor decisions I made.” He blamed the vitriolic content of his social media posts on a mix of stress, alcohol abuse and “submersion in deep ‘rabbit holes’ of election conspiracy theory.”
“I sat around at night drinking too much and reacting to articles and sites given to me by Facebook” algorithms, he wrote.
The town fired Robertson and Fracker after the riot. Rocky Mount is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Roanoke and has roughly 5,000 residents.
[Judge Cooper] said he was troubled by Robertson’s conduct since his arrest — not only his stockpiling of guns but also his words advocating for violence. After Jan. 6, Robertson told a friend that he was prepared to fight and die in a civil war and he clung to baseless conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump, the judge noted.
Sentencing guidelines calculated by Cooper recommended a prison term ranging from seven years and three months to nine years.
“It’s a long time because it reflects the seriousness of the offenses that you were convicted of,” the judge said.