Texas man gets longest J6 sentence for parading with a holstered weapon

Elaine Thompson

As the days go by, more and more Capitol Hill rioters are completing their trials and being sentenced. The latest example comes to us from Texas, where Guy Reffitt, a member of the Texas Three Percenters militia, was previously found guilty of “obstructing Congress,” and “interfering with police officers,” along with threatening his children. Reffitt received the longest sentence handed down to any J6 rioter thus far. He was given 87 months in prison on top of the 19 months he has already spent behind bars while his trial played out. As with previous sentencing hearings we’ve covered here, we will review precisely what Reffitt did to deserve more than seven years in prison. It’s a particularly pertinent question in this case because it’s unclear if Guy Reffitt even did anything that would qualify as “rioting.” (Associated Press)

A Texas man convicted of storming the U.S. Capitol with a holstered handgun helmet and body armor was sentenced on Monday to 87 months — more than seven years — in prison, the longest sentence imposed so far among hundreds of Capitol riot cases.

Prosecutors said Guy Reffitt told fellow members of the Texas Three Percenters militia group that he planned to drag House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the Capitol building by her ankles, “with her head hitting every step on the way down,” according to a court filing.

Reffitt was the first person to go on trial for , in (sic) which supporters of then-President Donald Trump halted the joint session of Congress for certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.

Prosecutors had been asking for fifteen years, so you might think that Guy Reffitt got off easy. But what did he really do? The prosecution accused him of “being a member of a militia.” To the best of my knowledge that’s not a crime. They also made a big deal of the fact that he was carrying a revolver in a holster and wearing body armor and a helmet with a camera installed in it. And yet Reffitt was not charged with any weapons-related crimes.

It’s first worth noting that Guy Reffitt never even entered the Capitol Building. He remained outside on the plaza. So he didn’t destroy or steal any property inside the Capitol. It’s also unclear how he could possibly have “obstructed Congress” by standing outside on the plaza. As to his “interfering with police officers,” it’s true that Reffitt did approach the police line, but he never drew his firearm. He shouted at the police, but then retreated when one of them pepper sprayed him.

The only activity captured on video that the prosecution could definitively prove was that Guy Reffitt “shouted” at the police officers. He also loudly proclaimed to the crowd that he intended to do some very unpleasant things, including dragging the Speaker and/or other members of Congress out of the building and he encouraged others in the crowd to do so. But he never carried out his claimed intentions. He remained outside with the rest of the protesters who never breached the Capitol. Some of you may be old enough to remember when “saying unpleasant things” was not punishable by long stretches in prison.

It seems obvious that Reffitt never did anything that would even qualify as “rioting” on January 6. He was convicted of “shouting,” just like Michael Eckerman was. He received a longer sentence than Eckerman, and Eckerman actually did “shove” a Capitol Hill Police officer. He also received a significantly longer sentence than Mark Ponder, and Ponder at least struck a glancing blow to an officer’s shoulder with a pole.

How are these sentences being handed down so casually and with no outcry from the media? How could they possibly stand up under appeal? Keep in mind that these sentences are being issued when you would be hard pressed to find a single BLM rioter from the Summer of Love who was given so much as community service after literally attacking police lines, destroying police cruisers, and setting fire to federal government buildings. What we’re seeing from the Justice Department is a warped series of politically motivated attacks designed to send a message to anyone who objects to the current White House regime. It’s not right and it should not be allowed to stand.

Jazz Shaw Aug 07, 2022 2:31 PM ET