US Capitol rioter who beat officer with flagpole sentenced

Source: BBC

An Arkansas man who used the pole of an American flag to batter a fallen police officer during the US Capitol attack has received a 52-month jail term.

Peter Francis Stager helped drag the officer down the steps of the Capitol, then “forcibly and repeatedly” struck him, say prosecutors.

He was also captured on video saying that “death is the only remedy” for the lawmakers inside the building.

Over 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot.

Stager, a 44-year-old truck driver from Conway, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in February to a felony charge of assaulting police with a dangerous weapon.

He was identified six days after the attack by an informant, who told the FBI he recognised Stager from videos posted on Twitter.

One video shows Stager climbing the steps of the Capitol holding a flagpole affixed with the American flag.

The officer he attacked had been guarding an entrance into the building when he was “pulled – face down and head first – down a set of steps and into the violent mob,” prosecutors with the Justice Department said.

Stager and others “forced [the officer] into a prone position on the stairs and proceeded to forcibly and repeatedly strike [him] in the head and body with various objects,” they added.

A second video shows Stager saying: “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building,” in apparent reference to members of Congress and law enforcement.

A confidential source told the FBI that Stager had claimed he did not know the man was a police officer and thought he was striking a member of the far-left Antifa movement.

The officer is, however, uniformed in the video and his Metropolitan Police logo is clearly identifiable.

Government prosecutors had previously argued “Stager’s chilling motivation and the brutality of the assault” called for a prison sentence of six years and six months.

Defence lawyers, in a court filing, said their client was “humbled, contrite, and extraordinarily remorseful for his actions”.

On Monday, Judge Rudolph Contreras sentenced him to four years and four months.

Of the 1,070 rioters charged in the attack, nearly 600 people have received prison sentences. Some 350 people have been charged with attacking, resisting or impeding police officers.

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