A 56-year-old black man was sentenced to five years and three months in prison Tuesday for his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Mark Ponder, a resident of Washington D.C., and former constituent services coordinator for the D.C. city council, pleaded guilty in April to assaulting three police officers with poles. His sentence is tied for the longest jail sentence levied so far against those involved in the riot, which has often been dubbed as “white supremacist” by prominent Democrats and officials.
“The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion,” President Joe Biden said at an event in October of last year.
“These displays of white supremacy are not new,” Lecia Brooks, chief of staff for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said of the riot. “Now it’s just reached a fever pitch.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate the attack was racially motivated.
“The attackers on Jan. 6 included a number … of what we would call militia violent extremism. And we have had some already arrested who we would put in the category of racially motivated violent extremism, white, as well,” Wray said, according to the Washington Post.
JUST IN: Judge Tanya Chutkan has sentenced Jan. 6 defendant Mark PONDER to 63 months in prison for assault, one of the stiffest sentences handed down yet, and steeper than DOJ's request for five years.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) July 26, 2022
Mark K. Ponder, 56, was just sentenced to more than 5 years (63 months) in prison for striking cops on Jan 6.https://t.co/MWzr4GNoPN
Ponder is a former constituent services coordinator for the DC city council. pic.twitter.com/Nlgtofo21J
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) July 27, 2022
Ponder struck officers with a pole, before law enforcement tackled him to the ground. A voice can be heard on video of the incident saying, “You gonna have to kill me today. You gonna have to kill me.”
“When our country is being attacked with, like we are, we have a right to fight … that is what the Second Amendment was built on,” Ponder told law enforcement, according to his statement of offense.
“Ponder’s criminal conduct — arming himself during a riot, assaulting a police officer, re-arming himself after his first weapon broke, assaulting two additional police officers, encouraging the crowd to attack police, and returning to the Capitol after express instructions to leave—demonstrates a profound disrespect for the law generally,” Justice Department attorney Michael J. Romano wrote in Ponder’s sentencing memo.
“Unfortunately, he got caught up in the riotous atmosphere of the crowd and erroneously perceived the police as standing in the way of the crowd’s desire to protest the election results,” Ponder’s attorney Joseph R. Conte, said in a sentencing memo.
Robert S. Palmer of Largo, Florida, was also sentenced to five years and three months in prison in December, according to the Washington Post.
Ponder was arrested on March 17, 2021.
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