Keith Packer of Newport News, Virginia, stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 13, 2021 while donning a sweatshirt with the antisemitic slogan “Camp Auschwitz” over a blouse with a Nazi motif. He was given a sentence of 75 days in jail.
via AP: Western Tidewater Regional Jail A Virginia man who rushed the U.S. Capitol while donning a Nazi-themed top over an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” hoodie was given a 75-day prison sentence on Thursday.
Prior to being sentenced by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols during a hearing conducted by video conference, Robert Keith Packer, 57, chose not to speak. Before passing judgment, the judge referred to the “extremely inappropriate” wording on Packer’s hoodie.
“I believe there was a purpose behind why he wore the sweatshirt. Mr. Packer has not disclosed the cause, thus we are unsure about it “Nichols remarked.
After the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, pictures of Packer wearing the sweatshirt quickly became popular. He “fatuously” responded, “Because I was cold,” when FBI investigators asked him why he was wearing it, a federal prosecutor claimed in a court document.
Over the words “Camp Auschwitz,” a human skull could be seen on Packer’s hoodie. On the back, the word “Staff” appeared. Above the entrance gate to Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp in occupied Poland where more than 1 million men, women, and children were slaughtered, it also sported the inscription “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of the original German language.
MORE ANTISEMITIC GARMENTS WERE LAYED ON TOP OF THE SWEATSHIRT. Under his sweatshirt on January 6, Packer was discovered to be wearing a “SS” T-shirt, which is a reference to the Nazi Party paramilitary group established by Adolf Hitler, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Furst. When Packer joined the mob backing then-President Donald Trump, the prosecution claimed that he “attacked the same government that granted him the opportunity to voice those opinions, no matter how repulsive or vile they may be.”
Furst told the judge that Packer “intended to help the subversion of our country and maintain a dictatorial ruler by force and violence.”
Although defense lawyer Stephen Brennwald admitted that Packer’s outfit was “extremely objectionable,” he claimed that because he has a free speech right to wear it, it shouldn’t be a sentencing consideration.
“It’s terrible that he wore that shirt on that particular day. He is permitted to wear it, so I just don’t think it’s proper to provide him more time because of that “said he.
Packer, according to Brennwald, “doesn’t view himself that way at all,” thus being called a white supremacist has offended and angered him. In a press conference held a few days after the disturbance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was accused of tying Packer to white supremacy. According to the defense attorney, Packer wanted him to sue Pelosi.
Because he didn’t want his remarks to be “splashed out there” on social media, Packer chose not to speak during the hearing on Thursday, his attorney informed the judge.
PACKER Packer, a resident of Newport News, Virginia, entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building in January. This offense carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison. Packer is one of more than 850 people charged with federal crimes related to January 6.
Ashli Babbitt, a rioter, was fatally shot by a police officer as she attempted to scale a barred door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby, according to information provided by Packer to the FBI. Packer said he was between 10 and 12 feet away from Babbitt at the time of the incident.
Furst said in a court document, “He informed the agents he heard the shot and saw her fall back from the window she was trying to climb through.”
Furst claimed that throughout his FBI interrogation, Packer didn’t show any regret.
He was more interested in recounting the hate mail he received and the how the media “hounded” him for interviews, she said.
Kimberly Rice, Packer’s younger sister, addressed a letter to the judge pleading for mercy. Although she emphasized that “freedom of expression” is not illegal, she stated that her brother’s sweater “may be deemed in poor taste.”
A sentence of 75 days in jail followed by 36 months of probation had been suggested by the prosecution. Brennwald asked for a probationary sentence instead of a prison term.
After the riot, Packer was detained by FBI officers. In the meantime, he has remained unpunished.
Packer works as a pipe fitter on his own. He has a significant criminal history, according to the prosecution, with about 21 convictions—mostly for drunk driving and other traffic infractions.
For their actions on January 6, more than 870 persons have been charged with federal offenses. 400 or so of them have entered pleas of guilty, primarily to petty counts. Over 250 suspects in riot cases have received sentences, with roughly half receiving prison terms ranging from seven days to ten years.