Devlyn Thompson, 28, was sentenced on Monday to three years and 10 months in prison for her involvement in one of the most violent clashes outside the Capitol on January 6, although the defense argued that the Thompson was put on the autism spectrum and should be pardoned. The judge in the case pointed to his previous job paying $90,000 a year, ruling autism as unrelated to sentencing.
Thompson is from Washington state, moved to Georgia in 2020, and drove from Atlanta to Washington, DC on January 6. He was involved in assaulting several Capitol police officers for more than two hours before leaving the area.
Defense attorney Elizabeth Kelley said because of Thompson’s disorder he was “active in many ways as a child” and it influenced what he believes happened on January 6.
“Autism is not and should not be an excuse for bad behaviour, but rather, it should be considered when an individual’s ability to make mistakes and a person’s level of social understanding are questioned,” she said. write.
To counter Kelley’s claims about how Thompson’s disorder might affect his behavior and interactions with others, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said autism is not what excuses for assaulting the police. He also points to Thompson’s work before the riots at a rental property management company with $90,000 in annual income as proof that he was an effective member of his community.
Thompson wrote to Lamberth and the officer he attacked with a metal baton apologizing for his actions before being sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
He has been in jail since he pleaded guilty to assaulting an officer in August.
“The attack on the Capitol that day was an attack on the rule of law in our country,” Lamberth said.
Justice Department prosecutors recommended a four-year prison sentence for Thompson. Kelley requested a one-year prison sentence for Thompson.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines for Thompson’s case recommend prison sentences ranging from 46 to 57 months.
Prosecutors say one of the most violent confrontations on January 6 was in the tunnel, where a mob and police scrambled for control of the entrance to the Capitol in an area known as the Lower. West Terrace. Surveillance video shows Thompson and more than 190 other rioters in the tunnel. He used a baton to hit a police officer in the hand that he found in the tunnel. Others attacked police with poles, sticks and other makeshift weapons.
Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone told a congressional committee in July that the war in the tunnel “wasn’t brutal at all.” He was dragged into the crowd, beaten and repeatedly jerked with a stun gun.
“I observed about 30 police officers standing shoulder to shoulder, maybe four or five closely following, using their body weight to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers. Some of them were injured, bleeding and tired, but they kept holding on,” Fanone testified.
Before assaulting the officer, Thompson helped the mob take riot shields from officers and bring them to other rioters to use against police, according to prosecutors. He also joined the crowd jostling each other against the ranks of officers and hurling a loud speaker that caused another rioter to bleed his head and bleed, prosecutors said. know.
Thompson’s actions on January 6 “show an absolute disregard for the rule of law coupled with a willingness to incite and engage in violence,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
In his apology letter to the officer, Thompson said he was still trying to understand his “inexcusable” behavior on January 6.
“You deserve to be treated with respect and I didn’t show you anything with my actions that day,” Thompson wrote.
Thompson is the third rioter to be convicted of assaulting a police officer at the Capitol. The other two, Robert Palmer and Scott Fairlamb, were sentenced to 63 months and 41 months in prison, respectively.
More than 700 people have been charged federally in connection with the riots. More than 150 of them have pleaded guilty, most to misdemeanors that carry a maximum prison sentence of six months. Nearly 70 defendants were sentenced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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