Former Air Force officer sentenced to prison for Capitol attack

Photo of author

By admin

WASHINGTON — A retired Air Force officer who stormed the U.S. Capitol dressed in combat gear and wearing zip-ties in handcuffs in the Senate gallery was sentenced Friday to two years in prison.

Larry Brock joined other rioters in the Senate just minutes after then-Vice President Mike Pence, senators and their staff evacuated the chamber to escape the mob that attacked the building on January 6, 2021.

Federal District Judge John Bates also sentenced Brock to two years of supervised release after his prison term and ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service. Brock, who refused to speak in court before the judge imposed his sentence, remains free until he is due to report to jail on a date to be determined.

Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Bates convicted Brock in November after a bench trial. The judge said Brock delivered “very concerning” and violent rhetoric before the riots on Jan. 6. The judge read aloud several of Brock’s social media posts, calling it “really pretty amazing” that a former high-ranking military officer would utter those words.

“That is chilling stuff and reflects the purpose of stopping the certification of the election,” Bates said.

Brock believed unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Republican incumbent Donald Trump, prosecutors said.

“When we get to the bottom of this conspiracy, we need to execute the traitors who are trying to steal the election, and that includes the media and social media leaders who aid and abet the coup plotters,” Brock wrote in a statement from the November 9. 2020, Facebook post.

In a Facebook message to another user on Christmas Eve, Brock outlined what he called an “action plan if Congress doesn’t act” on January 6. One of the “main tasks” of his plan was to “capture all Democratic politicians and key Biden staff and select Republicans.”

“Begin the interrogations using the measures we use in al Qaeda to obtain evidence about the coup,” he wrote.

A Texan native who lived in the Dallas area, Brock flew combat missions in Afghanistan before retiring from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.

His “action plan” also called for a “general pardon for all crimes, including the murder of those who restore the Constitution and put down the Democratic Insurrection.”

“Don’t kill LEO unless you have to,” he wrote, apparently referring to law enforcement officers.

Brock did not engage in any violence on January 6, but prosecutors said his behavior was “disturbingly premeditated.”

“Had the Senate Gallery not been emptied minutes earlier, Brock could have come face to face with the politicians he had fantasized about capturing and interrogating,” they wrote in a court filing.

Bates convicted Brock of all six counts in his indictment, including obstruction of an official proceeding, the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory. The obstruction charge is a felony; the other five charges are misdemeanors.

Defense attorney Charles Burnham said it is “inconceivable that (Brock) was motivated by anything other than a genuine concern for democracy.”

“If Mr. Brock was sincerely motivated by high ideals, that significantly reduces his culpability, even if the Court privately disagreed with his view,” Burnham wrote in a court filing.

Brock attended the “Stop the Steal” rally where Trump addressed a crowd of supporters on January 6. He was wearing a helmet and a tactical vest when he joined the mob that attacked the Capitol. He entered the building through the Senate wing doors about 12 minutes after they were initially breached by other rioters.

On the ground near the East Rotunda stairs, Brock picked up a discarded pair of handcuffs. He held the “flexible handcuffs” in his right hand in the gallery of the Senate. On the Senate floor, he examined the paperwork on the senators’ desks.

“This was consistent with Brock’s overall mission stated on January 6, which was intelligence gathering to stop certification and transfer of power,” prosecutors wrote.

Brock graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1989. He served on active duty until 1998 and served in the reserves until 2014.

In a letter to the judge, a retired Air Force major general praised Brock’s military service. The major general, whose name has been redacted from public court documents, said Brock risked his life to protect US forces from a Taliban attack, flying below mountain peaks into a valley “saturated with enemy forces.”

“The result thwarted enemy advances on American personnel, saved American lives, and defused an escalating situation for forces at that remote base in Afghanistan,” the major general wrote.

Brock was employed as a pilot for a commercial airline on January 6. His attorney said the Federal Aviation Administration revoked Brock’s licenses after his arrest in January 2021.

Approximately 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6 riots. More than 400 of them have been convicted, and more than half have received prison terms ranging from seven days to 10 years.

Leave a Comment