In Capitol riot, man who held Confederate flag pleads guilty

On Tuesday, a Maryland man was convicted of interfering with the police officer trying to disperse the rioters by waving a Confederate flag attached on a lacrosse stick.

In Capitol riot, man who held Confederate flag pleads guilty

David Blair is facing a maximum five-year sentence after pleading guilty in a felony case of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. Blair's sentencing guidelines suggest a sentence of eight to fourteen months.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper will sentence Blair on July 13.

Blair was accused of assaulting a Metropolitan Police Department Officer outside the Capitol in the attack on Jan. 6, 2021 by a mob led by Donald Trump supporters. Prosecutors said that Blair, wearing a skull-themed mask on his face, taunted the officer with a wooden crosse stick and a Confederate battle banner. A body camera of an officer captured Blair waving the flag before a crowd of police officers.

Blair's jury trial was set to begin in Washington, D.C. on May 2.

Blair was not the only one who brought a Confederate Flag to the Capitol. A man who wore a Confederate flag to the Capitol on Jan. 6 has pleaded guilty for joining the mob that prevented Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Matthew Ryan Miller (23), from Cooksville, Maryland, is set to be sentenced May 23.

Blair was initially detained by police on the day of the riot. He was then taken to the hospital for treatment for a head injury.

In February 2021, Blair was arrested by the FBI. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of assaulting, resisting and impeding police officers with a dangerous weapon, a flagpole.

Blair's lawyer disputed that the flagpole in issue -- a lacrossestick -- was a dangerous or deadly weapon.

Terrell Roberts III, a defense attorney, had claimed that Blair was exercising his First Amendment rights on public ground west of the Capitol when he was arrested by police. Roberts claimed that Blair was blindsided by an officer who shoved him and didn't give him any warning.

"In response to the legally unjustified use force, (Blair used his lacrossestick to block or check officer, who had his baton raised vertically to his right hand," Roberts stated in a February 2022 court filing. "The officer was not injured or hurt, and such resistance which was legal under the circumstances did not provide a basis for believing that probable cause existed for arresting the defendant."

Roberts claimed that a police officer illegally took a knife out of a backpack Blair was carrying when he was arrested.

Prosecutors claimed that Blair refused to follow police orders to leave the West Lawn area on Capitol grounds. This is where he was said to have assaulted an officer.

"The record shows that Blair received this order. He shouted to the group, "Quit backing up!" and "We're Americans!"" Assistant U.S. attorney Michael Liebman wrotein March 1 court filing. Prosecutors maintained that Blair was lawfully searched by police.

FBI agents found a notebook with writings about Jan. 6, which Blair had shared with his mother in Clarksburg, Maryland. According to the FBI, the phrase "Save USA" was written on a page of notebook paper.

Over 770 people were charged with federal crimes in connection to the Capitol Riot. More than 240 people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, which can lead to a maximum six-month imprisonment. After a trial, two others were convicted of riot-related offenses.


 

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