A North Texas resident has been sentenced to more than seven years in jail after receiving the first conviction in a case stemming from the Capitol Hill protests on January 6, 2021.
During the protests, which saw some individuals attempt to stop the certification of presidential electoral votes at the U.S. Capitol, Guy Wesley Reffitt carried a gun and zip ties and was seen encouraging people to go past police barricades and enter the Capitol building. Reffitt himself never entered the building on that day.
Video from Reffitt’s personal body camera shows parts of the protest and records him declaring, “I didn’t come here to play games. I’m taking the Capitol… We’re going to drag them mother f–kers out kicking and screaming…I just want to see Pelosi’s head hit every f–king stair on the way out. And Mitch McConnell too.”
Reffitt was charged with five felonies and convicted on all counts by a jury. This included the transportation of a firearm in furtherance of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering a restricted area with a firearm, obstructing police while committing civil disorder, and obstructing justice by using the threat of physical force to stop communication.
Despite being the longest sentence handed down so far for those convicted of crimes related to the riots, Judge Dabney Friedrich denied the request of federal prosecutors to further increase Reffitt’s prison time on charges of domestic terrorism.
The judge said that adding time and a domestic terrorist classification would create an “unwarranted disparity” between Reffitt’s case and others previously sentenced on similar charges without such requests.
“More than 775 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 245 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement,” per the Department of Justice.
Reffitt’s case was the first to go to trial, and over 300 defendants have already pleaded guilty to charges.
Concerns persist about the way many of the prosecutions for charges related to January 6 have been handled by government officials. Inconsistencies when it comes to arrests and charges have led some, including federal legislators such as U.S. Reps. Troy Nehls (R-TX) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), to suggest that the trials are primarily politically motivated or that perhaps the government had a more active role in escalating the protest.
For example, as previously reported by The Dallas Express, one protestor named Ray Epps was recorded the day before urging the crowd to breach the capitol the next day, saying, “I’m going to put it out there, I may go to jail for this … tomorrow … we need to go into the Capitol!” The crowd responded to the suggestion by booing and calling Epps an undercover agent, chanting, “Fed! Fed! Fed!”
Epps has routinely denied being an informant or agent for any branch of the federal government, but when Texas Senator Ted Cruz asked the FBI’s Assistant Director for National Security Jill Sandborn about Epps and whether or not any federal informants participated or encouraged the protests, she responded, “I cannot answer that.”
Epps was never arrested or charged for his documented actions encouraging the protests, and his name was removed from the FBI wanted list.