Retired Firefighter Sentenced to 4+ Years in Prison for Assaulting Capitol Police

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A Pennsylvania man was sentenced for assaulting law enforcement officers with a dangerous weapon during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

Robert Sanford Jr., 57, a retired firefighter from Chester, Pennsylvania, was sentenced Tuesday, April 11, 2023, to 52 months in prison, 36 months of supervised release, $2,000 restitution to the Architect of the Capitol, and $3,798 in restitution to the medical expenses of the U.S. Capitol Police officer he injured. Sanford pleaded guilty on September 26, 2022, in the District of Columbia, to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon.

According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Sanford attended a rally at the Ellipse and then walked to the U.S. Capitol grounds, joining others who were gathered there illegally. At about 2:30 p.m., he was part of a group on the Lower West Terrace. While there, he threw a fire extinguisher at a group of U.S. Capitol Police officers, striking three of them in the head. He also threw a traffic cone in the direction of officers. He screamed in the direction of officers that they were “traitors.”

Sanford was arrested on Jan. 14, 2021.

This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Capitol Police.

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In the 27 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

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