Scott Fairlamb was sentenced to over 3 years of prison on Wednesday for assaulting a police officer during the storming of the Capitol that took place on January 6. Fairlamb is the first person involved with the riots to be sentenced for violence.
Fairlamb is a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter who struck a police officer in the midst of the riots that broke out in the wake of the 2020 Presidential Elections. Fairlamb pleaded guilty after spending the last ten months in jail after the events, and was sentenced to 41 months in prison on Wednesday.
“It’s such a serious offense..an affront to society and to the law, to have the Capitol overrun and the function of government stopped,” said Judge Royce Lamberth, who presided over the Fairlamb case. Lamberth said that the violence “struck in the heart of our democracy.”
This ruling is a crucial one, as it is expected to establish a precedent for how the January 6 rioters will be sentenced in regards to the instances of violence that took place at the Capitol during that day. The majority of cases related to the riots that have already been adjudicated have involved defendants who were nonviolent.
Police officers at the Capitol Hill Riots give emotional testimonies
Fairlamb has been sentenced for assaulting a police officer present at the riots, and while his case has not been connected to racism or racist language, many reports of violence and racism towards officers have been reported in the fall out of the riots.
Multiple Capitol Hill police officers gave testimonies in July detailing their experience and the intense racism they felt at the hands of the rioters. Violence at the Capitol erupted over the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The rioters believed that the election was “rigged” in favor of Joe Biden.
Officer Harry Dunn spoke emotionally about the racial slurs some rioters used in response to Dunn telling them he had voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election: “You hear that, guys, this n***** voted for Joe Biden!” said one rioter, the crowd following with, “Boo! F****** n*****!”
Dunn said in his testimony that he had told the rioters he voted for Biden after one confronted him and said that they had been invited to the Capitol by Donald Trump and that no one had voted for Biden.
“Well, I voted for Joe Biden,” Dunn responded to the crowd. “Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?”
Officers give intense testimonies of the January 6 Riots
Dunn said that he found his experience at the riots emotionally draining and even traumatizing. The officer said that he turned to a fellow African American officer and said “‘How the [expletive] can something like this happen?! Is this America?’ I began sobbing, and officers came over to console me.”
Dunn also encouraged those who witnessed the riots to reach out for professional support:
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” Dunn said. “What we all went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”