A Buffalo man who admitted forcibly removing the badge and radio of a beaten Washington, D.C., police officer during the U.S. Capitol siege on Jan. 6, 2021, has been sentenced to 50 months in prison.
A federal judge said Thomas Sibick strippedof “everything that badge represented” during the Capitol riot. Judge Amy Berman Jackson called the badge a “symbol of (Fanone’s) service to the city and his country.”
Fanone spoke at Sibick’s sentencing hearing Friday, urging Jackson to sentence Sibick to a prison term.
“Ignore Mr. Sibick’s pleas for remorse. On Jan. 6, … he gave me none,” Fanone said. “He’s a coward and a liar.”
Fanone, who retired 11 months after the assault on the Capitol, was dragged, beaten and electroshocked by rioters on Jan. 6. He also talked about the police radio that Sibick had taken from him.
“My radio is my lifeline. It was all I had in those moments to call for help,” Fanone told Jackson. “It was taken to be used as a trophy.”
Sibick had asked for leniency, citing the impact of a prescription drug he was taking on the day of the Capitol riot. His defense attorney told Jackson that Sibick had argued that he was trying to help Fanone when he approached the injured officer amid the attack.
But Judge Jackson criticized Sibick’s claim “of helping” and said Sibick wasn’t “simply swept up or “caught up” in the crowd on Jan. 6. Sibick, she said, had “bought in 100%” while he was part of the mob.
In his guilty plea, Sibick acknowledged burying the police badge in his backyard. The $5,500 police radio was never recovered, according to plea agreement filings.
While he spoke to the judge and asked for leniency, Sibick turned to face Fanone four times.
“Please forgive me. Please,” he said, addressing Fanone. And he praised Fanone’s efforts and service on Jan. 6.
“That’s bravery. That’s duty,” Sibick said. “That’s the man I aspire to be.”
Fanone left the courtroom before the the sentencing hearing ended.
Sibick served seven months in pretrial detention in the Washington, D.C., jail with other Jan. 6 defendants. He told the judge the Jan. 6 wing had an aura of “authoritarianism.”
“I was criticized and belittled for seeming weak,” he said. “And for not subscribing to ideologies.” Sibick told Jackson that others in the Jan. 6 wing of the jail were seeking “fame, fortune and notoriety.”
Sibick pleaded guilty to assaulting, resisting and impeding a police officer in March. Jackson said the removal of Fanone’s radio by Sibick was “forcible” and said Sibick’s participation in the Capitol attack “was a choice.”
According to a Justice Department report, nearly 600 of the more than 1,000 US Capitol riot defendants have pleaded guilty.
The Justice Department had sought a sentence of nearly six years in prison for Sibick.
In addition to the 50-month prison sentence, Jackson ordered Sibick to pay $2,000 to help pay for the damage to the Capitol complex.