Geophysicist Accused of Beating Cop at Capitol Riot Claims He Was Just ‘Patting Him on the Back’

Pilar Melendez
·5 min read
Criminal Complaint
Criminal Complaint

A Colorado geophysicist accused of beating up a police officer during the Capitol riots claimed to federal authorities he wasn’t violently attacking the cop—just simply “patting him on the back.”

Jeffrey Sabol, 51, was charged with civil disorder after he was captured on video dragging a D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer down a flight of stairs while another rioter hit the cop with an American flag during the Jan. 6 siege. In another video, Sabol was seen holding a police baton across the officer’s neck. After the savage attack, Sabol bought a plane ticket to Zurich in an attempt to flee, prosecutors said.

The geophysicist was arrested Friday at Westchester Medical Center after he admitted to assaulting an officer on the steps of the Capitol in a “fit of rage,” prosecutors said.

A newly unsealed criminal complaint states the MPD cop was trying to prevent rioters from entering the Capitol when he was suddenly dragged down the stairs. He was put in a prone position on the stairs and hit in the “head and body with various objects.”

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Sabol, dressed in a tan jacket and black helmet, can be seen in several videos “holding an instrument believed to be a police officer’s baton across the police officer’s lower neck” while his left hand is on the officer’s back.

In another video, Sabol runs up the stairs and attempts “to grab the leg of a presumed police officer,” but the cop kicks him down the stairs. Sabol then grabs the officer and pulls him down, punching him in the back, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors state Sabol admitted he jumped over a police barricade during the insurrection and dragged the officer down the stairs. But while there is video of him punching the MPD cop, Sabol insists he was just “patting him on the back” and saying “we got you man,” the complaint states.

“Once at the bottom of the stairs, Sabol claims he ‘covered the police officer for his own safety’ while others hit the police officer with poles,” the complaint reads. He claims he later used a baton to “protect” the officer who was on the ground.

Sabol was brought to the hospital on Jan. 11 after authorities spotted him driving erratically and “covered in blood, suffering from severe lacerations to both thighs and arms.” Inside his car, authorities found razor blades, a note with instructions and passwords to a computer, his passport, and an airline ticket, among other items.

“While officers aided Sabol, he made several spontaneous statements to include but not limited to: ‘I am tired, I am done fighting,’ ‘My wounds are self-inflicted,’ I was ‘fighting tyranny in the DC Capital,’” according to the complaint.

During a Friday hearing, where a judge ordered Sabol to remain in detention pending trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforte noted that Sabol’s attempted suicide “can be taken as consciousness of guilt.” Gianforte added that Sabol’s attempt to fly to Zurich is a clear signal he was trying to escape prosecution.

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“What is one of the many things Switzerland is known for? One of them is being a non-extradition country,” Gianforte said. “He thinks he won’t get shipped back home to face the music.”

A Texas father was also charged on Wednesday for his role in the riots, with prosecutors alleging he took his son on a five-day trip to D.C., for his birthday—which they celebrated by invading the Capitol.

James Uptmore, also known as “Sonny,” and his son, Chance, have been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

According to a criminal complaint, prosecutors were tipped off to Chance’s Facebook account, where he had posted videos from inside the Capitol. The father and son were also spotted in several photographs and videos taken by The Telegraph and CNN.

“When a painting was grabbed off the wall we helped the cops recover it. The cops were saying stuff like ‘we stand with you’ ‘thanks for being here’ ‘you made your point now leave calmly’ I have it all on tape,” Chance Uptmore claimed in a Facebook comment, according to the criminal complaint. “Sure there was pushing and shoving and there were some antifa agitators but there will also be agitators infiltrating both sides.”

<div class="inline-image__credit">Criminal Complaint</div>
Criminal Complaint

In the comment, the younger Uptmore also insisted the “violence was minimal” during the riots. Five people died during the attack, including a Capitol police officer who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.

During a Jan. 17 interview, Chance Uptmore admitted he entered the Capitol with his dad—even though his dad advised him not to go in. James Uptmore also admitted to entering the building.

“Chance Uptmore said he entered the Capitol building because he was caught up in the crowd and because it was a once in a lifetime event,” the complaint states.

Christopher Ortiz, a 27-year-old from New York, was also arrested on Wednesday. A criminal complaint states the FBI received multiple tips that he’d posted on Instagram about being inside Capitol on Jan. 6. In one video, Ortiz is heard yelling “Onward, Onward!” as rioters enter the building.

One tipster, a high school friend, provided the FBI with an Instagram conversation he had with Ortiz in which Ortiz said he was “participating in government” because he is “vehemently against CCP influence our government.”

“Lol they can come and get me; I didn’t break or vandalize or steal; I walked through and out,” Ortiz wrote, before seemingly flirting with the tipster by saying: “I’d storm the Capitol for you any day.”

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