CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – A retired Chester firefighter was arrested by the FBI for allegedly hurling a fire extinguisher at police inside the U.S Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, CBS News reports.
Robert Sanford, 55, from Upper Chichester, Pennsylvania was arrested early Thursday morning. He is charged with assaulting a police officer.
Sanford was allegedly caught on camera throwing the extinguisher as rioters stormed into the Capitol building.
Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland issued the following statement:
“City officials are aware that a former Chester Firefighter allegedly attended and participated in the insurrection that took place in our nation’s capital last week. While Robert Sanford adorned a hat with a Fire Department logo, he is not a current employee of the city of Chester. Mr. Sanford was a member of the Chester Fire Department from January 1994 until his retirement in February 2020. As the First Amendment of our Constitution outlines the right to free speech and to peaceful assembly, the actions of the rioters in D.C. last week hinged on characteristics of domestic terrorism. As such, if any person, be it a current or former employee or resident, is confirmed to have participated in last week’s event at the Capitol, then we hope our legal system will work according to its purpose and bring them to justice. On behalf of the city of Chester, I offer my deepest, most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends who lost a loved one as a result of the events that transpired on that day.”
Biden unveils $1.9 trillion economic relief as Trump’s Senate trial looms
President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled his $1.9 trillion coronavirus economic relief package, an ambitious plan that includes a drive to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office. Meanwhile, President Trump’s post-presidency future remains unclear as he faces a trial in the Senate — although Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would not reconvene before January 19, the day before Mr. Trump leaves office.
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Biden announced what could be the signature legislation of his first 100 days. It’s expensive legislation with three major targets: $400 billion for arresting the spread of COVID-19 and increasing vaccine capabilities; over $1 trillion to assist families needing direct financial support; and $440 billion in emergency funds for cash-poor small businesses and communities.
“I believe we have a moral obligation,” Mr. Biden said in a speech on Thursday night. “In this pandemic in America, we cannot let people go hungry, we cannot let people get evicted, we cannot watch nurses, educators and others lose their jobs, we so badly need them. We must act now, and we must act decisively.”
The transition team announced on Thursday Mr. Biden had selected Jaime Harrison, the former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from South Carolina who raised record sums of money in his failed bid to unseat GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, to lead the Democratic National Committee.
Mr. Trump remained out of the public eye on Thursday, one day after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him for a second time. McConnell, who has not said how he will vote in a trial, said on Wednesday that the Senate could not finish a trial before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
If the Senate trial stretches into Mr. Biden’s term, the Senate could conceivably still choose to convict Mr. Trump and bar him from holding any federal office in the future, although scholars differ on the constitutionality of holding a trial once the accused has left office. A vote to convict would require a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
On Thursday, the parts of the West Wing accessible to the press looked increasingly vacant. Boxes and containers were being filled with staffers’ personal belongings, and some White House aides were seen posing for photos in the Rose Garden.
Capitol rioters communicated using military hand signals, law enforcement official says
A Washington D.C. police officer witnessed rioters using military-style hand signals to communicate inside theon January 6, a law enforcement official tells CBS News.
The identification of individuals using the military, small unit tactics is among the “highest priorities” for a Sedition Task Force being run by the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office. The apparent use of “small unit tactics,” trained to military and law enforcement, drew immediate scrutiny from investigators. These tactics were witnessed both outside and inside the Capitol Building, CBS News has learned.
Federal investigators are reviewing images that appeared on social media, as well as thousands of hours of video from closed-circuit cameras positioned outside the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the Capitol campus, and police body cameras.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said Tuesday his office is looking into possible seditious conspiracy charges in its investigation of the riot.
Sherwin said the investigation into rioters’ planning includes combing through travel records, financial information and communications.
On Thursday, prosecutors said a retired Air Force officer who was arrested in Texas after being featured in a viral photo carried plastic zip-tie handcuffs because he intended “to take hostages.”
“He means to take hostages. He means to kidnap, restrain, perhaps try, perhaps execute members of the U.S. government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer said of retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry Rendall Brock Jr., who was also the subject of a New Yorker article.
Federal authorities have charged more than 40 people in connection with the Capitol riot. Among them were two off-duty Rocky Mount, Virginia, police officers, Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, who are each facing one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Fracker is a corporal in the Virginia National Guard, and he is not currently on duty with Virginia National Guard troops in Washington, D.C. The Virginia National Guard will be conducting an investigation.
Prosecutors wrote in a complaint that Robertson wrote in a social media post, “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business … The right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.”
Fracker posted a since-deleted comment on Facebook that read, “Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around… Sorry I hate freedom? …Not like I did anything illegal…y’all do what you feel you need to,” according to the complaint.
Man sentenced to life in prison over the fatal stabbing of Maryland college student
A white man whoat a bus stop on the University of Maryland’s flagship College Park campus was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for what prosecutors claimed was a racially motivated hate crime. Sean Urbanski, 25, apologized to the parents of 23-year-old Richard Collins III for the “horrible pain” he caused them and said he wishes he could “go back and change what happened” on the night in May 2017 when he killed the newly commissioned Army lieutenant.
“There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about what I’ve done to you, and if I could switch places with your son I would in a heartbeat,” Urbanski told Dawn and Richard Collins Jr. during a hearing conducted by video teleconference.
Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, but Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and defense attorney William Brennan said after the hearing that Urbanski will be eligible for parole under the judge’s sentence.
Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. dismissed a hate crime charge against Urbanski before a jury convicted him of first-degree murder in December 2019. But the judge said Thursday that he believes race and alcohol both were factors in the killing. Hill said he doesn’t believe it was a coincidence that Urbanski stabbed the only Black person at the bus stop that night.
“Race is always amongst us in the things we do and things we say,” the judge said.
Collins’ parents said they wake up every night around the same time that their son was killed. They can’t bring themselves to clean out his room.
“With the passage of time, we have come to the realization that racist hate was the murderer’s only motivation for killing our son,” Richard Collins Jr. said.
Urbanski’s mother told Collins’ parents that the “horror and devastation” of knowing that her son killed their son is with her every day.
“Your son Richard should be here, and it’s my son Sean’s fault that he’s not,” Elizabeth Urbanski said.
Earlier this year, Maryland enacted legislation bearing Collins’ name to strengthen the state’s hate crime law so prosecutors don’t have to prove hate is the only motivating factor in committing a crime. The change expanded the law to apply to crimes motivated “either in whole or in substantial part” by race, color, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability or national origin. Collins’ parents had lobbied for a change in the law.
The judge allowed prosecutors to present evidence that Urbanski saved at least six photographs of racist memes on his cellphone and liked a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation.”
Prosecutors said alcohol and racist propaganda poisoned Urbanski’s mind and emboldened him to act on his hatred of Black people.
Defense attorneys said there was no evidence of a racial motive for the killing.
Collins was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army shortly before his death. He was days from graduating from Bowie State University, a historically Black college, and was celebrating with a friend at bars on the night of his killing.
Urbanski had been enrolled at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. He, too, was drinking with friends at bars before the killing.
About 3:30 a.m. on May 20, 2017, Urbanski approached Collins while he waited at a bus stop for an Uber driver with a white male friend and an Asian woman whom they had just met. Urbanski brandished a folding knife as he approached the friends from a wooded area, according to prosecutors.
“Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” Urbanski told them, according to police.
“No,” Collins said before Urbanski stabbed him once in his chest with a folding knife.
Urbanski then pocketed the knife and sat down on a bench until police arrived and arrested him at the bus stop.
“My son committed the unpardonable sin of saying, ‘No,’ to a white man,” a tearful Dawn Collins told the judge.
She said her son, her husband and her father-in-law all proudly served their country.