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6 Jan. rioter who assaulted officer with flagpole sentenced to 4 years in prison

WASHINGTON — A rioter who repeatedly hit a police officer with a flagpole on Jan. 6 as the officer was dragged down the steps of the Capitol was sentenced Monday to more than four years in prison.

Peter Stager, a 44-year-old truck driver from Arkansas, was sentenced to 52 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras. Prosecutors had sought six-and-a-half years in prison, citing Stager’s “chilling motivation” and the brutality of the attack.

“Each one of those Capitol law enforcement officers, death is the cure, that’s the only cure they get,” Stager said on video Jan. 6, according to prosecutors.

However, in court Monday, Stager said he thought the officer was a member of antifa, and that he only saw the officer’s shoes and that it was “a little strange” for people to be dressed in tactical gear and wearing hiking boots.

“In the end, what I remember was the feet,” he said.

An aerial view was taken as members of the crowd at the Capitol dragged a police officer down the stairs and into the crowd. Peter Stager, top, is circled in dark blue. Others circled are also defendants. (U.S. District Court for DC)

Stager’s lawyer said Monday his client was “deeply sorry for his behavior” and told the judge that the rehabilitative function of incarceration had already been achieved because he had already spent more than two years in federal custody.

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“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Stager said. “I ruined it.”

Stager said he will “continue to support the blue”, saying he hopes the country can come together and not follow “bad people with bad ideas who think they are leaders”.

Contreras said he took into account Stager’s “terrible” upbringing, noting that he was raised by a prostitute addicted to heroin and left her children in a motel. Stager was then abused in the shelter system, the judge said.

Contreras added that former President Donald Trump and his allies “bear responsibility for what happened that day.”

One of Stager’s co-defendants — Logan Barnhart, a romance novel cover model who dragged the officer down the stairs — was previously sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Last week, prosecutors opened new cases on January 6 against 19 different defendants. So far, more than 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol, and more than 300 have been sentenced to prison.

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Earlier on Monday, a husband and wife — Jamie Buteau and Jennifer Buteau, who both appeared in a QAnon documentary — pleaded guilty, with the man admitting to throwing a chair at officers at the Capitol, where it bounced off a wall and punched an officer in the arm.

Another defendant, Michael Scott Lockwood, admitted that he got into a fight with an officer and then stole his baton.

“I have a little souvenir for me,” Lockwood, who pleaded guilty on Monday, had written in a Facebook post.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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