Virginia man gets prison for January 6 Capitol breach

FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan....
FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. A man who attacked police officers with poles during the U.S. Capitol riot has been sentenced to more than five years in prison. The sentence that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan gave Mark Ponder on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, matches the longest term of imprisonment so far among hundreds of Capitol riot prosecutions.(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 1:44 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, DC (WDBJ) - A Mechanicsville man was sentenced Tuesday in the District of Columbia for assaulting law enforcement officers and other charges connected to the Capitol breach Jan. 6, 2021, which led to the disruption of a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to count electoral votes related to the presidential election, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Geoffrey William Sills, 31, was sentenced to 52 months in prison for obstruction of an official proceeding, assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon and robbery; all charges are felonies.

Sills was found guilty in August 2022, following a bench trial before U.S. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden. Sills was indicted with eight other defendants, five of whom have been convicted, and three of whom are awaiting trial. In addition to the prison term, Sills was ordered to pay $2,000 restitution and serve 36 months of supervised release.

Per the US Attorney’s Office, according to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, “Sills illegally entered the Capitol grounds after earlier attending a rally at the Ellipse. He joined in the violence that occurred in the tunnel area of the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace. From approximately 2:40 p.m., law enforcement officers maintained a line at the second set of glass doors inside the tunnel leading from the inaugural platform to the entrance to the Capitol. These officers fought a group of rioters -- including the defendants -- inside the tunnel, protecting the doors, until approximately 3:19 p.m. when they cleared them from the tunnel. Clashes continued throughout the afternoon.”

The US Attorney’s Office continues, “Sills joined the crowd at the West Front of the Capitol grounds at approximately 2:13 p.m. He was wearing black goggles and a black gas mask. He joined the line of rioters that pushed police officers back. Sills threw several pole-like objects at the officers as they retreated, while filming the events and posting them to social media. He then followed the retreating officers to the Lower West Terrace and into the tunnel. He wrested away a police baton from an MPD officer. A few minutes later, he exited the tunnel, holding the baton above his head. He re-entered the tunnel several minutes later, moving to the line of officers. He then pointed a flashing strobe light at the police line, disorienting officers. Sills also struck at several officers with the baton, hitting at least two of them.”

In the 26 months since Jan. 6, 2021, at least 999 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

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