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Jan. 6 rioter who assaulted officer with flagpole sentenced to 4 years in prison

Peter Stager, a 44-year-old truck driver from Arkansas, was sentenced to 52 months in federal prison. Prosecutors had sought a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
Peter Stager beat a police officer with the flagpole he was carrying at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Peter Stager beat a police officer with the flagpole he was carrying at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. District Court for D.C.

WASHINGTON — A Jan. 6 rioter who repeatedly struck a police officer with a flag pole as the officer was being dragged down the steps of the Capitol was sentenced Monday to more than four years in federal prison.

Peter Stager, a 44-year-old truck driver from Arkansas, was sentenced to 52 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras. Prosecutors had sought six-and-a-half years in prison, citing Stager's "chilling motivation" and the brutality of the assault.

“Every single one of those Capitol law enforcement officers, death is the remedy, that is the only remedy they get," Stager said on video on Jan. 6, according to prosecutors.

In court, however, Stager said Monday that he thought that the officer was a member of antifa, and that all he saw were the officer's shoes and that it was “kind of odd” for people to be dressed in tactical gear and wearing hiking boots.

"What I remember, ultimately, was the feet," he said.

An aerial photograph was taken as members of the mob at the Capitol dragged a police officer down stairs and into the crowd. Peter Stager, top, is circled in dark blue. Others circled are also defendants.
An aerial photograph was taken as members of the mob at the Capitol dragged a police officer down stairs and into the crowd. Peter Stager, top, is circled in dark blue. Logan Barnhart is circled in yellow. Others circled are also defendants. U.S. District Court for D.C.

Stager's attorney said Monday that his client was “deeply regretful of his conduct” and told the judge that the rehabilitative function of incarceration had already been achieved because he has served more than two years in federal custody already.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," Stager said. "I messed up."

Stager said that he will "continue to back the blue," and said he hopes that the country can come together and not follow "bad people with bad ideas who think they're leaders."

Contreras said he factored in Stager's "horrible" upbringing, noting that he'd been raised by a prostitute who was addicted to heroin and abandoned her children at a motel. Stager was then subjected to abuse in the foster system, the judge said.

Contreras added that former President Donald Trump and his allies "bear responsibility for what occurred that day."

One of Stager’s co-defendants — Logan Barnhart, a romance novel cover model who dragged the officer down the steps — was previously sentenced to more than three years in federal prison.

Last week, prosecutors unsealed new Jan. 6 cases against 19 different defendants. More than 1,000 people have been charge so far in connection with the attack on the Capitol, and more than 300 were sentenced to time in prison.

Earlier on Monday, a husband and wife — Jamie Buteau and Jennifer Buteau, who had both appeared in a QAnon documentary — pleaded guilty, with the husband admitting that he threw a chair at officers inside the Capitol, where it bounced off a wall and struck an officer in the arm.

Another defendant, Michael Scott Lockwood, admitted that he got into a fight with an officer and then stole his baton.

"Got me a little souvenir," Lockwood, who pleaded guilty Monday, had written in a Facebook message.