WASHINGTON — A federal judge sentenced a Maryland man Wednesday to five months behind bars for cross-checking a police officer with a lacrosse stick on Jan. 6.
David Alan Blair, 26, of Clarksburg, appeared before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper for sentencing Wednesday morning on one felony count of interfering with a police officer during civil disorder. Assistant U.S. attorney Michael C. Liebman asked Cooper to sentence Blair to eight months in prison – the lower end of the eight-to-14 month guideline agreed on in the plea deal. Cooper said he agreed with the presentence report that determined Blair’s conduct amounted to aggravated assault, which would increase the sentencing guidelines range to 18-24 months, but said he would calculate his sentence off the agreed upon range.
Blair pleaded guilty in March to the single count of civil disorder in exchange for the Justice Department agreeing to drop multiple other felony counts against him. In charging documents filed last February, prosecutors said Blair – who arrived at the Capitol approximately more than an hour after it was first breached -- wielded a lacrosse stick adorned with a Confederate battle flag and encouraged other members of the mob to confront police.
In court Wednesday, Liebman played a bodyworn camera video of a D.C. Police Officer shoving Blair with a baton as the line of officers moved forward to push the mob off Capitol grounds. Blair responded by cross-checking the officer with his lacrosse stick – causing other officers to grab him and drag him to the ground. Officers struck Blair with batons multiple times, including at least three blows to the head that resulted in a concussion and overnight hospitalization.
During his processing, police found a knife in his backpack – which he said he brought out of fear of “antifa.” Blair also allegedly apologized for striking the officer.
“I understand what I did, the one motherf***er swung at me so I kinda switched… so I apologize, we’re done though,” Blair said.
In court Wednesday, Blair told Cooper he’d wanted to protest the removal of Confederate statues around the country during 2020, including the removal of Confederate officer and former South Carolina governor Wade Hampton III, who he described as his ancestor. In his sentencing memo, Blair’s attorney, Terrell Roberts, said Blair’s mother was from Sumter, South Carolina, and was related to the Hampton family by marriage.
“I’m tired of our history being erased in this country,” Blair said.
Cooper, however, said he thought Blair came to D.C. “primed for a fight.”
“I suspect you didn’t go there to go on the lawn,” Cooper said. “I suspect you went there to go to the Capitol.”
Cooper ultimately sentenced Blair to five months behind bars, 18 months of supervised release and a $500 special assessment, in addition to the $2,000 in restitution he agreed to pay as part of his plea deal. Cooper also ordered Blair to appear for a re-entry hearing following his term of incarceration so he can monitor his progress. He urged him to use the time behind bars to consider what led him to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Be careful what you’re reading on the Internet,” Cooper said.
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