Police body-cam footage showed David Blair confronting police in a skull-themed neck gator.
US attorney’s office in Washington, DC
- A judge said David Blair came to the Capitol “primed for a fight” on January 6, 2021.
- Prosecutors accused Blair of shoving police with a lacrosse stick affixed with the Confederate flag.
- Blair pleaded guilty in March to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from the Capitol siege.
Carrying a Confederate battle flag attached to a lacrosse stick, David Blair arrived on the Capitol grounds late in the afternoon of January 6, 2021, setting him apart from hundreds of other charged rioters who reached the building earlier in the day.
As a federal judge put it Wednesday, “Yours is a little different case.” But Blair came “primed for a fight,” Judge Christopher Cooper said.
Blair was sentenced Wednesday to 5 months in prison on a disorderly conduct charge stemming from January 6, when he cross-checked a police officer with his lacrosse stick as law enforcement attempted to clear a lawn outside the Capitol.
Handing down the sentence, Cooper credited Blair for almost immediately expressing remorse for his actions and later pleading guilty to the disorderly conduct charge. But, rejecting Blair’s request for a non-prison sentence, Cooper said he “squared off” and “mouthed off” at police officers attempting to protect the Capitol and “cross-checked a guy.”
Federal prosecutors recommended that Blair receive an 8-month prison sentence, arguing that he not only pushed an officer with his lacrosse stick but encouraged other rioters to refuse law enforcement’s orders to leave the lawn outside the Capitol. During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, assistant US attorney Michael Liebman said the Confederate flag — combined with a skull-themed gator Blair wore over his face — made clear that he was “looking for a fight” on January 6.
In his backpack, Liebman said, was a 4-inch serrated knife and a roll of duct tape. And during a search of his home, the FBI found an AR-15 rifle that Blair had purchased legally in May 2020.
Liebman played police body-cam footage showing an officer contact Blair with a baton as he encourages other rioters not to clear the lawn, yelling, “Quit backing up, quit being scared.”
Blair then turned around and cross-checked the officer in the upper chest area, prompting officers to strike him with their batons, causing injuries to his head and body that required hospitalization.
Arguing for a lighter sentence, Blair’s defense lawyer argued that Cooper should not consider the lacrosse stick a dangerous weapon. That contention drew an almost incredulous response from Cooper.
“You’re telling me a lacrosse stick can’t cause serious bodily injury?” the judge asked. “Somebody whacks you over the head with it, they can’t seriously injure you?”
Still, the judge acknowledged that the police officer was not injured.
“It is clear to me a lacrosse stick is capable of causing serious bodily injury,” Cooper said. “That said, it was not the most serious assault in the world.”
Cooper ordered Blair to serve 18 months of probation following his prison sentence.