Judge orders "radicalized" former police officer to stay in jail until Capitol riot trial

·1 min read

A former Virginia police officer arrested for allegedly participating in the U.S. Capitol riot must remain in custody until his trial over evidence that he has illegally stockpiled weapons, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Driving the news: U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper, in D.C., said in an order that Thomas Robertson was "further radicalized" after he was charged with breaching the Capitol building — noting that agents found a rifle, pipe-bomb making equipment at his home and evidence that he had purchased 37 guns online since his arrest.

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  • The 47-year-old, who was fired from the Rocky Mount Police after he was charged, was initially released in January.

  • He was rearrested this month for violated a judge's order not to possess firearms while on pretrial release and also for breaking a federal law that prevents people under felony indictment from shipping firearms.

What they're saying: "The undisputed facts demonstrate a concrete risk that Robertson might participate in or provide material support to acts of ideologically motivated violence if released at this time," Judge Cooper wrote.

  • Cooper noted there was "probable cause to believe that Robertson committed a felony" despite being under felony indictment.

  • "Robertson's procurement of these dangerous weapons under the surrounding circumstances heightens the risk to public safety," Cooper added.

The big picture: Robertson is in solitary confinement for his own safety due to the fact he's a former police officer.

  • He has pleaded not guilty to four charges, including felony obstruction of congressional proceedings.

  • Robertson must remain in jail until the case is resolved, which could take months.

Read the judge's order, obtained by WVIR-TV, via DocumentCloud:

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