The face of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has been sentenced to 41 months in prison. Jacob Chansley, of Phoenix, earlier this year pleaded guilty to a felony count of obstruction and could have been sent to prison for up to 20 years.
It’s hard to forget images of Chansley as he and others stormed the Capitol last winter, hoping to stop the counting of Electoral College votes after President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.
On Jan. 7, Chansley called the FBI and admitted to his role in the riot. Don’t give him too much credit, though – the FBI certainly would have found him, since there are countless images of a shirtless Chansley roaming the Capitol wearing face paint, wielding a spear and sporting a horned headdress.
He brazenly led rioters down the Capitol halls and left a note on Vice President Mike Pence’s desk, saying “it’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming.”
Did Chansley and the others honestly think they wouldn’t face repercussions for interfering in the sacred “peaceful transfer of power” that is the backbone of our nation?
Apparently so. Yet consequences must come for those who perpetrated unlawful acts during the riot. It’s not about politics, nor should it be retribution against the former president. It has to happen because those who stormed the Capitol that day simply cannot go unpunished.
They damaged property. They threatened lawmakers. They committed violent acts against police officers. People died. The evidence against them – crystal clear video clips and photographs – is overwhelming.
The Jacob Chansleys of the nation need to know that justice awaits those who break the law.
Earlier this month, Scott Fairlamb was sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer during the Capitol riot. Fairlamb was the first Jan. 6 rioter to be ordered to time in prison. Chansley is the second and others likely will follow.
Add Steve Bannon to those who apparently feel they can flout the law without repercussions, but unlike Chansley and Fairlamb, he has not yet acknowledged his intentional flouting of U.S. law.
Bannon, a former adviser to Trump, did not appear before Congress after being subpoenaed to testify. He was indicted last week with contempt of Congress and faces up to a year in prison. He has since turned himself in and has pleaded not guilty.
Like the others, Bannon should be prosecuted – again, not because of politics but because when people choose to sidestep the law, they must face consequences.