BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – A federal judge in the District of Columbia reversed a Buffalo federal judge’s ruling Tuesday, and ordered a Western New York man held without bond in advance of his trial. An arrest warrant was immediately issued for Thomas Sibick, who was released into home confinement last week while facing charges related to the assault of a police officer at the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Justice Beryl Howell, who determined there is plentiful evidence to deem Sibick a public threat, ruled he is to be held without bond in Washington, D.C. ahead of his trial. The 35-year-old defendant is charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and taking from a person anything of value by force and violence or by intimidation.
The defendant, who was released to the custody of his parents March 12, is accused of helping rioters overpower D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was beaten with flagpoles, tased and had his gear stolen. Investigators began focusing on Sibick in late January and questioned him on multiple occasions before pursuing charges. Prosecutors say he changed his story several times, and later admitted stealing Fanone’s badge and police radio. The badge was said to be buried in Sibick’s backyard, while it was stated in court Tuesday that the radio had not yet been recovered.
The defense argues Sibick was trying to help Fanone as he was attacked. Attorney Alexander Anzalone also argued that the defendant is “scared,” and was not a mastermind behind any violence carried out January 6. They also noted he turned himself in to authorities.
Prosecutors, in response, say Sibick could be seen seemingly enjoying the events, including posing for a photo in which he’s allegedly holding up a seized police riot shield.
Justice Howell did not accept the defense’s argument, and stated that the evidence favors the prosecution, and shows Sibick to be a public threat.
He is one of two Western New Yorkers currently charged in connection with the Capitol riot. Peter Harding of Cheektowaga faces misdemeanor counts including unlawful entry into the Capitol Building.