Judge ‘appalled’ by rioter’s actions after he hits several officers with pole
A Washington, DC man has been sentenced to 63 months in prison after he attacked several police officers with a weapon during the Capitol-opprør i januar 6.
Mark Ponder, 56, from northwest DC, is one of only a few DC residents to have been charged in the Capitol riot. He now faces more than five years behind bars.
He was arrested on the day of the insurrection but he was released because the authorities were too overwhelmed to process him, WUSA9 reported.
I April, he pleaded guilty to felony assault. The 63-month sentence is a tie for the longest punishment in relation to the Capitol riot. Robert Scott Palmer was ordered to serve the same amount of time.
Judge Tanya Chutkan said she handed down the tough sentence because she was “appalled” by Ponder’s behaviour and that she was moved by Sgt Aquilino Gonell’s victim impact statement. His injuries led to his retirement from the US Capitol Police force.
Sgt Gonell has testified in front of the January 6 Committee and has appeared on cable news on several occasions to share his reactions and experience in relation to the riot and the subsequent investigation.
Ponder mostly looked straight forward and barely reacted during his sentencing hearing, WUSA9 reported. He has been in pretrial custody since last year.
“People like to talk about Washington and call it a swamp. But Washington is full of people who came here to serve their country”, Judge Chutkan said, according to WUSA9.
She added that the patriots on January 6 were those who defended the Capitol.
Ponder was filmed hitting police officers with a pole several times. He was arrested but was let go when the officers holding him learned that the expected transport wasn’t coming.
He yelled at the police while he was in custody in the grounds of the Capitol for around 25 minutter, i følge Politico.
Hours later, he was spotted on the stage where then-President-elect Joe Biden was set to be inaugurated two weeks later.
An FBI affidavit said that “while the officers are standing with Ponder waiting for transport, Ponder verbally engages with other nearby rioters saying ‘I will say this. When our country is being attacked with, like we are, we have a right to fight…that is what the Second Amendment was built on’”.
“Eventually, the officers learn that transport will not be arriving for Ponder and that they are needed for continued crowd control. At that point, they inform Ponder that he will be released”, uttalte erklæringen.
Officers took Ponder to the outer edge of the grounds of the Capitol and told him not to come back.
“Other rioters cheered him on”, when he was released, the charging documents said.