Off-duty police officer sentenced to 87 months in prison on charges related to Capitol breach
His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Thomas Robertson, 49, of Ferrum, was sentenced in the District of Columbia, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
Another off-duty officer and co-defendant, Jacob Fracker, 30, of Rocky Mount, pleaded guilty on March 18, 2021, to a federal conspiracy charge. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16.
“Thomas Robertson, despite swearing an oath of office when he became a police officer, joined the violent mob at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and did so while armed,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves. “Today’s sentence holds him accountable for his role in the violence that day.”
According to court documents, Robertson and Fracker, both officers with the Rocky Mount Police Department, were off duty when they headed for Washington, D.C. in Robertson’s car on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. Both brought along their police identification badges and firearms but left those in their vehicle when they arrived in the Washington metropolitan area. They went to the Washington Monument area, where they attended a rally, and then headed to the Capitol, where a mob was gathering. Both donned gas masks and approached the lower west terrace of the Capitol, where they joined an advancing mob of rioters. Robertson carried a large wooden stick and confronted members of the Metropolitan Police Department, who had arrived to provide back-up to U.S. Capitol Police officers who were defending the west front of the Capitol from the mob.
Fracker entered the Capitol at approximately 2:14 p.m., and Robertson entered a few minutes later. They met up inside the Capitol’s crypt, where they took a selfie of themselves making an obscene gesture in front of a statue. Throughout the day, both Robertson and Fracker used their mobile phones to take photos and video footage of their activity.
Robertson and Fracker were arrested on Jan. 13, 2021.
Prior to their arrests, federal law enforcement officers called them, informed them of their arrest warrants and ordered them to turn themselves in later in the day. After learning he had been criminally charged for his conduct at the Capitol, Robertson allegedly took Fracker’s phone and destroyed it and his own phone to hide the evidence of their crimes.
Robertson was found guilty by a jury on April 11, of a total of six charges following a trial in the District of Columbia. The jury found him guilty of five felonies: obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds while carrying a dangerous weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building while carrying a dangerous weapon, and tampering with a document or proceedings. He also was found guilty of the misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. Following his prison term, Robertson will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia with assistance from the Department of Justice National Security Division’s counterterrorism section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with assistance from the Roanoke Resident Agency of the FBI’s Richmond field office. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 19 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 860 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.