A geophysicist allegedly caught on video dragging a Capitol police officer down a set of stairs during the Capitol insurrection on 6 January claims he was just giving the officer a supportive pat on the back.
Jeffrey Sabol, 51, participated at in the Capitol riot. FBI records from the incident state that Mr Sabol “acknowledged that the video seemed to depict him throwing punches at the police officer, but he claims he was ‘patting him on the back’ and saying ‘we got you man.'”
Law and Crime reported on Mr Sabol's claims.
Mr Sabol was arrested last week north of New York City and charged with attempting to interfere with law enforcement during a civil disorder. He is facing five years in prison if convicted.
FBI documents claim Mr Sabol can be seen multiple times in a video bringing a police baton down across the back of a Capitol police officer's neck and using his other hand to control the officer.
“In the referenced video, the same individual that appears in the still photograph, can be seen running up the stairs of the United States Capitol and attempting to grab the leg of a presumed police officer,” the document alleges. “The presumed officer seems to kick the individual away from him causing the individual to fall backwards down the stairs.”
After being kicked down the stairs, Mr Sabol apparently tried again.
“Some moments later, this individual is captured once again seen ascending the stairs of the Capitol, but this time the individual seems to grab a police officer and pulls the officer down the stairs,” the FBI report claimed. “It also seems that this individual is punching the back of the police officer as he drags him down the stairs.”
In Mr Sabol's version of events – which was included in the FBI report – he was responding to a "call to battle" because "he was a patriot warrior," and claimed he took the police baton in order to protect the officer who was being dragged down the stairs.
Law enforcement apparently showed Mr Sabol the image of him standing over the officer with a baton, which he admitted looked damning.
"Sabol acknowledged that this picture looked bad and he could not recall if he hit the police officer with the baton because he was in a fit of rage and the details are cloudy," he said.