WASHINGTON — A federal judge rejected a New York man’s claims Friday that he was trying to help a D.C. Police officer on January 6 when he stole his badge and radio – ordering him to remain behind bars while he awaits trial.
Thomas Sibick, 35, of Buffalo, appeared before U.S. District Judge Amy B. Jackson on Friday morning to argue for a reopening of his detention hearing. Sibick was arrested in mid-March and ordered held in custody while he awaits trial on multiple felony charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting police – specifically, assaulting and robbing D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone of his badge and gun.
It was the latter charge Sibick’s lawyer, Stephen Brennwald, focused on. In a motion filed earlier this month and in court Friday, Brennwald said a recording released by the Department of Justice does not show that Sibick attacking Fanone but, rather, trying to help him.
“The recording makes it appear more likely than not that the radio and the badge – as Mr. Sibick has claimed throughout – came off in his hand as he was reaching toward the officer to pull him to safety,” Brennwald said.
Brennwald also claimed Sibick is a helpful person, and that he “asked to be put in the hole” in the jail where he is being held because other inmates were giving him a hard time for listening to guards.
Jackson was thoroughly unconvinced by Brennwald’s arguments, saying the video does not show Sibick surprised to have come away with Fanone’s badge and radio – as he would be if he’d actually been reaching for the man, instead.
“He took his own unique, independent, purposeful action,” Jackson said. “The video clearly shows moving his left hand in and then his right hand in. Not at the same time, moving in with both hands to pull up.”
“I just do not accept the representation that the video changes anything or shows anything different,” she added.
Jackson also said there’s no evidence that Sibick tried to use Fanone’s radio to call for help for the officer, or attempted to find other police. But he did, she pointed out, have time to pose for a photograph with a stolen riot shield.
“He may be a helpful person in life, but he was not helping on January 6,” Jackson said.
Jackson denied Sibick’s motion to reopen his detention hearing on the basis that the assault charge against him is unsupported, but did say Brennwald could file a new motion asking her to reconsider Sibick’s detention status in general.
Sibick is currently facing a federal indictment on 10 counts in connection with the Capitol riot along with two co-defendants: Albuquerque Cosper Head and Kyle Young. The next status hearing in the case was scheduled for November 29.
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