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Buffalo man arrested, faces federal charges stemming from U.S. Capitol insurrection

Authorities say he stole a badge and a radio from a D.C. police officer who was beaten unconscious on January 6. They say he buried the badge in his backyard.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Buffalo man faces federal charges after authorities say he stole a badge and a radio from a D.C. police officer who was then beaten unconscious during the January 6th insurrection.

According to court documents, Thomas F. Sibick was interviewed on January 21 by FBI agents at his home for "potential information" related to the insurrection. The documents also say "Sibick posted a video of the riot to his Instagram account."

Sibick was taken into custody and later released to home incarceration at his father’s house after his appearance in federal court. His next appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

Sibick has been charged with entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, and taking something of value by force.

The affidavit says that when the Metropolitan Police officer "was defending the doorway, a rioter pulled Officer (Michael Fanone) into the crowd, where members of the crowd beat, tased, and robbed Officer M.F. of his MPD badge (#3603), police radio, and MPD-issued 17-round magazine, while also trying to forcibly remove his service weapon from its fixed holster. The radio was securely attached to Officer M.F.’s tactical vest, and the badge was pinned to the vest.

Credit: U.S. Distgrict Court
Thomas F. Sibick

"As a rioter attempted to get Officer M.F.’s gun, Officer M.F. heard him yell words to the effect that he was going to take Officer M.F.’s gun and kill him. Following the assault, Officer M.F. lost consciousness and was hospitalized for his injuries, including a likely concussion and injuries from the taser. Officer M.F. was admitted to the hospital for monitoring of his cardiac activity."

In a video presented by a witness on January 21, Sibick is said to use his cell phone to take a video on the inauguration ceremony stage, where he yelled, "Just got tear-gassed, but we’re going, baby, we’re going! We’re pushing forward now!"

A second witness on January 27, in the affidavit, provided investigators with a photo from Sibick's Facebook account, allegedly showing him with a U.S. Capitol Police shield.

A YouTube video reportedly captures Sibick's voice on camera near a tunnel, where someone asked where he was from.

"Buffalo," the court document alleges he says. "Let’s go. Let me just get refreshed."

Credit: U.S. District Court
Thomas F. Sibick

Agents spoke with Sibick for the first time on January 27. He acknowledged that he was in Washington and at the U.S. Capitol, where he said he saw a D.C. Metro Police officer being "being pulled down the steps and hit with what Sibick described as a 'flagpole.' Sibick also reported seeing at least two other individuals beating the D.C. Metro Police Officer and attempting to get his gun, but were unable to do so."

Sibick told agents that he "attempted to reach the officer to pull him away but was unable to get to him, and at that point he feared for his life and that of the officer." 

Sibick also told agents that he chose to leave, citing violence. Agents showed Sibick the photo of him holding the Capitol shield, and Sibick told them the shield "had been passed through the crowd."

Sibick said he asked a man next to him to take his picture with it, adding that he did not intend to use the shield.

Agents decided to again interview Sibick on February 23, showing him still shots from the officer's body camera that showed "an individual consistent with Sibick's appearance." At that point, he admitted to grabbing the officer's badge and radio, authorities say.

Credit: U.S. District Court
Thomas F. Sibick

Sibick maintained that he had tried to help the officer, saying he pressed an "emergency orange button" once he had the radio to call for help. He added that he dropped the badge and radio in a Constitution Avenue trash can as he left.

Later in the interview, Sibick revised his story, saying he brought the badge and the radio to his hotel room, and then back to Buffalo, adding that he was "planning to turn the items in to the FBI" once back home.

Fearful of arrest, Sibick told agents he threw the items in a dumpster on North Street, in a back alleyway of the Lenox Hotel.

Two days later, an agent sent Sibick a "ruse email," saying security cameras at the Lenox Hotel were going to be checked to confirm Sibick's statement that he disposed of the badge and radio in the dumpster."

On February 26, Sibick told agents he "wanted to do the right thing" and did not dispose of those items. Instead, he buried them in his backyard.

Sibick said he "purchased a metal detector to find the badge, which he then dug up, and that he wanted to return it," adding that he had thrown away the radio.

Sibick that night met an agent, giving up possession of the officer's badge in a bag containing mud.

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