Judge chastises Jan. 6 Capitol rioter, a former high-ranking military officer, during sentencing: 'Astounding and atrocious'

capitol protesters senate
The retired Air Force officer Larry R. Brock wearing a combat helmet, upper left, in the Senate chamber on January 6, 2021.Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Air Force veteran who entered Senate chamber on Jan. 6, 2021 was sentenced to two years in prison.

  • Larry R. Brock entered the Capitol building and was seen with zip-tie handcuffs on the Senate floor.

  • US District Judge John Bates described Brock's behavior as "astounding and atrocious."

A judge sentenced an Air Force veteran — who entered the Senate chamber during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol dressed in body armor and carrying zip-tie handcuffs — to two years in prison on Friday.

Larry R. Brock, a 55-year-old retired lieutenant colonel, joined other rioters on the Senate floor only minutes after security rushed then-Vice President Mike Pence out of the chamber and a mob, upset over then-President Donald Trump's 2020 loss to now-President Joe Biden, had breached the building.

A court found Brock, who lives in Galveston, Texas, guilty on six charges in November, including the obstruction of an official proceeding, which is a felony.

In his explanation of the sentence, US District Judge John Bates described Brock's behavior in harsh terms.

"It's really pretty astounding coming from a former high-ranked military officer. It's astounding and atrocious," the judge said.

The judge lowered the federal sentencing range from 57 to 71 months to 24 to 30 months given the dynamics of this particular case, including Brock's military service and the lack of a prior criminal record. But the judge said he also took into account the extreme rhetoric found on Brock's Facebook posts, which were read aloud in court, when determining the sentence.

"I think it's especially reprehensible and quite frankly unbelievable coming from a senior military officer," the judge said. "It's detailed. It's consistent. It's both astounding and atrocious. And we have no acceptance of responsibility and no showing of remorse whatsoever. Zero."

"I think it's fair to say his rhetoric is on the far end of how extreme it is," the judge added.

In one of Brock's Facebook posts, he spoke of a "civil war" after Trump's electoral loss.

"We need to execute the traitors that are trying to steal the election, and that includes the leaders of the media and social media aiding and abetting the coup plotters," Brock wrote on the social media platform in November 2020.

"No way in hell we should accept this rigged election. I think SCOTUS needs to see if they don't act that there will be blood," he added in a December post, using an acronym for the US Supreme Court.

In a post written on Christmas Eve that year, Brock stated: "I bought myself body armor and a helmet for the civil war that is coming."

Prosecutors said Brock traversed the Senate chamber during the January 6 attack, going through the desks of senators wearing a helmet and tactical vest and carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs. The prosecution also stated that Brock sought to unlock a door that had been used by Pence shortly before rioters came into the Senate chamber.

"Brock was a part of a larger mob that stopped the proceeding from taking place," April Ayers-Perez, a prosecutor, said of the certification of Biden's victory. "They were continuing to stop the proceeding just by being there. Brock was on the Senate floor where they were supposed to be debating Arizona at that very moment."

Brock chose not to address the court during his sentencing.

In addition to the two-year sentence, Bates will have to serve two years of supervised release after his time in prison. He will also have to perform 100 hours of community service.

Defense attorney Charles Burnham said Brock was considering an appeal of the decision.

Read the original article on Business Insider