Man accused of stealing police badge during Capitol riot ordered back to jail

Mark Hosenball
·2 min read

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A man accused of stealing a police officer's badge during the deadly January assault on the U.S. Capitol and later burying it in his backyard was ordered returned to jail on Tuesday.

Beryl Howell, chief judge of Washington D.C.'s federal district court, ordered Buffalo, New York, resident Thomas Sibick jailed until his trial, which has not yet been scheduled. He faces multiple riot-related charges and was initially released on bail by a Buffalo federal magistrate.

In making her decision, Howell in court cited the latest evidence that showed Sibick was "convinced of the rightness of his actions" and that he "can't be trusted" to abide by bail release conditions. Sibick demonstrated "enthusiastic participation" in the attack, Howell said.

Evidence showed that during rioting, Sibick tore off a badge and radio from the uniform of Washington Metropolitan police officer Mike Fanone, who was beaten by rioters, the judge said.

Hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed attempt to overturn his election defeat.

Sibick was interviewed by the FBI four times but according to prosecutors, did not mention grabbing the officer's badge in his first two interviews and initially claimed that he was a "good Samaritan" who had tried to assist the officer as the mob attacked. Prosecutor Cara Gardner suggested Sibick only started to tell investigators the truth when he realized he might have been captured on surveillance footage.

Alexander Anzalone, a public defender representing Sibick, noted there was no evidence Sibick was a leader of the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, that he had a weapon or that he was involved in a radical organization like the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys.

But Judge Howell said that Sibick had told multiple lies to investigators, including a claim that he had dropped Officer Fanone's badge and radio into a trash can.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball)