Off-duty police officer from Virginia found guilty for actions related to 2021 Capitol breach

Capitol breach
Posted at 11:02 AM, Apr 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-24 11:02:00-04

WASHINGTON - An off-duty police officer from Virginia was found guilty by a federal jury for his actions during and after the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including confronting police officers and destroying cell phones to hide evidence that he participated in the breach.

According to court documents, 49-year-old Ferrum resident Thomas Robertson is an officer with the Rocky Mount, Virginia Police Department. He and co-defendant Jacob Fracker were off duty when they headed for Washington, D.C. on the morning of January 6, 2021.

Both men brought along their police identification badges and firearms, but left those in their vehicle when they arrived in the Washington metropolitan area.

Robertson and Fracker attended a rally at the Washington Monument, then headed to the Capitol, where court documents say they donned gas masks and joined an advancing mob of rioters. Robertson carried a large wooden stick and confronted members of the Metropolitan Police Department, who had arrived to provide backup to U.S. Capitol Police officers.

Fracker entered the Capitol at approximately 2:14 p.m. and Robertson entered a few minutes later. They met up inside the Capitol’s Crypt, where they took a selfie of themselves making an obscene gesture in front of a statue. Throughout the day, both Robertson and Fracker used their mobile phones to take photos and video footage of their activity.

Both men were arrested on January 13, 2021. Police had previously called both men, informed them of their arrest warrants and ordered them to turn themselves in; following the call, Robertson took Fracker's phone and destroyed it, along with his own phone, to attempt to hide the evidence of their crimes.

Robertson was found guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds while carrying a dangerous weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building while carrying a dangerous weapon, tampering with a document or proceedings and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.

According to the United States Attorney's Office, Robertson will be sentenced at a later date.

In the 15 months since January 6, 2021, nearly 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.