Arrested and fired after participating in the Capitol riots with a fellow officer, a former Virginia police sergeant was recently found guilty on all counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding and disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon.
On January 6, off-duty Rocky Mount Police Sergeant Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker 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.
After entering the Capitol, they took a photo of themselves inside the building while participating in the riots. In the photo, which was later posted on Facebook, Sgt. Robertson can be seen holding a wooden pole while Officer Fracker raises his middle finger as they stand in front of a statue of John Stark, a Revolutionary War officer from New Hampshire.
On January 13, 2021, Robertson and Fracker were arrested on federal charges. Prior to their arrests, Robertson took Fracker’s phone and destroyed it and his own phone to hide the evidence of their crimes.
Both officers were initially placed on administrative leave for attending the Capitol riots. The town fired them after their arrests.
On March 18, 2022, Fracker pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding. As part of his plea agreement, he later testified against Robertson in federal court.
On Monday, Robertson was found guilty of 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, tampering with a document or proceedings, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.
The charges of obstruction of an official proceeding and tampering with a document or official proceeding each carry statutory maximums of 20 years in federal prison. The charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds while carrying a dangerous weapon and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building while carrying a dangerous weapon each carry statutory maximums of 10 years in prison. The charge of civil disorder carries up to five years, and the charge of disorderly conduct in a Capitol building carries a statutory maximum of six months.
Fracker faces up to five years in prison and a potential fine of up to $250,000.