A Capitol riot defendant volunteered to go to solitary confinement because he didn’t want to stay in the “cult-like” Washington, DC, jail wing specifically for January 6 suspects, his lawyer said.
Thomas Sibick of Buffalo, New York, has made multiple requests for release from custody since he was arrested in March, arguing that the atmosphere in the wing of the DC Correctional Treatment Facility was “toxic,” his lawyer Stephen Brennwald told a court on Tuesday, Law and Crime reported.
“Every night at 9 p.m., the folks there stand up and sing the Star-Spangled Banner,” Brennwald said, according to Law and Crime. “I was on the phone with [Sibick] a month ago and we talked, and in the middle of our talk, he said ‘I have to put the phone down, I’ll be right back. They’ll be angry if I don’t go over there.'”
“It was literally this herd mentality,” Brennwald added. “They’re literally singing … almost cult-like. It was pretty scary actually.”
Brennwald also said that Sibick, who was seen to be one of the more higher-profile defendants in the jail, requested to be put in solitary confinement — known as “the hole”— in order to avoid dealing with the other inmates, Law and Crime reported.
“He shouldn’t have to be in a hole because he’s trying to avoid a radical unit,” Brennwald said, according to Law and Crime.
Sibick has been charged with several counts, including assaulting a police officer and robbery, according to court documents seen by Insider.
He was accused of stealing the radio and badge of the DC police officer Michael Fanone during the riot. Fanone was knocked unconscious and suffered a heart attack during the riot.
US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed on Tuesday to release Sibick to home confinement with his parents in New York, under the condition he stays out of Washington, doesn’t attend any political rallies or use social media, and refrains from watching any cable news, according to court documents seen by Insider.
Jackson also said that Sibick’s actions “certainly raise serious questions” about how January 6 defendants are housed together.
There are 44 Capitol riot defendants who are serving time pre-trial in the separate wing of the DC Correctional Treatment Facility, which inmates call the “patriot wing,” NBC’s Scott MacFarlane reported.
One detainee told NBC 4 that inmates in the wing have their own manifesto and also started their own handwritten newsletter, which they pass from cell to cell.