A member of the violent, pro-Trump mob that descended on the Capitol in early 2021 has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison after actions that included an attempt to cut power at the Capitol complex as police sought to secure the premises from the openly murderous crowd.
The newly sentenced individual is a Texas man named Christopher Grider, and his prison sentence is 83 months. He pleaded guilty to a couple of the charges against him and was convicted of more, including civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, at a bench trial. Grider was among the rioters who joined initial pushes into the Capitol, and he was near the location where fellow riot participant Ashli Babbitt was shot by a police officer as she tried to get what could have proven to be access to lawmakers. Babbitt has since been turned into a kind of martyr in certain right-wing circles, though authorities’ investigations have found no basis for moving forward with allegations of wrongdoing against the officer who shot her, officials have said.
Like other rioters, it’s unclear Grider had much of a plan when he initially entered the Capitol, as a press release from the Justice Department that announced his sentencing recapped a series of seemingly random movements around the Capitol grounds. “Once inside the Capitol, Grider found an electric utility box and pressed buttons as he yelled “Turn the power off!”” according to that same release. A helmet that Grider had been carrying was evidently used in breaking a glass door in what sounds like roughly the same place Babbitt was shot.
“Grider remained and could be seen leaning over the railing to get a better glimpse of the woman bleeding on the floor,” the department said of what happened after Babbitt was fatally injured by that officer. “Grider was holding his phone over the stairway appearing to capture a video or pictures of the woman.”
In all of these cases, it remains relevant that Trump has repeatedly asserted his commitment to the idea of pardoning at least some of those who participated in the violent and deadly assault. Sandra Garza, the longtime romantic partner of the late officer Brian Sicknick, has discussed how Trump hasn’t bothered calling family members of impacted officers amid that support.