A former police officer from Virginia was convicted this week on six chargers for his role in the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection.  Thomas Robertson, formerly of the Rocky Mount, Virginia Police Department, where he served until his arrest, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

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U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper  presided over Robertson’s trial, after he was the second Capitol attack defendant to go to trial (Texas Three Percenter Guy Reffit was the first).

The jury convicted Robertson of all six counts against him: Obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and tampering with a document or proceeding.

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Prosecutors said that Robertson, also a U.S. Army vet and a former contractor for the U.S. military, was openly willing to commit violence in response to former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss. Prosecutors showed the jury a Robertson Facebook post in which he wrote “I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting a counter insurgency. I’m about to become part of one, and a very effective one.”

Prosecutors also showed that Robertson had a histroy of lying about military credentials, specifically saying that he was an Army Ranger, even though he never graduated from Ranger school, and also claiming that he was a Purple Heart recipient, the latter of which is a crime under The Stolen Valor Act.

Prosecutors focused on Robertson’s actions after January 6 at last weeks’ hearings however, highlighting messages he sent to the former chief of the Boone’s Mill Police Department.

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Robertson wrote:

“I’m not planning on doing anything crazy, but I am done being civil about it. If they come here again, many will die. Possibly me, definitely many of them.”

And continued in the same message:

“I can kill every agent that they send for probably two weeks.”

Robertson was granted pretrial release, but Judge Cooper ordered him to go back into custody in July when it was found he had purchased over 30 firearms while he was awaiting trial, which could be a federal crime and is still being investigated by the Justice Department.

Cooper told Robertson that he was not convinced that he accepted responsibility for his actions and that he would still likely commit more violent acts, saying:

“I read this stuff and it seems like you really think of partisan politics as war. I sincerely believe you would answer a call to duty if something like this were to happen again.”

January 6 Capitol Riots via Flickr / Tyler Merbler https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Robertson was ordered to serve 87 months in prison, matching Reffit’s sentence as the longest handed down to date in a January 6 case.  He was also fined $2,000 for damaging the U.S. Capitol Building, which is the standard amount in felony cases related to Jan. 6.


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Christopher Powell