Non-Violent Protester Gets 8 Months for Entering Capitol–Hundreds of BLM Riot Cases Dropped
Kristina Wong 20 Jul 2021
A man who engaged in non-violent protest at the Capitol on January 6 was sentenced to eight months in prison this week for obstructing an official proceeding, while hundreds charged in violent riots last summer have seen their cases dropped.
Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa, Florida, was sentenced Monday after he pleaded guilty to a single felony count of obstructing an official proceeding, after he was identified in videos and photos inside the Senate chamber carrying a Trump 2020 flag.
While the count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and prosecutors asked for 18 months, Hodgkins — who did not engage in any violence or property damage — received eight months, the longest punishment of three sentenced so far.
U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss told Hodgkins, “Although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself.”
“The damage that was caused that way was way beyond a several-hour delay of the vote certification,” Moss added. “It is a damage that will persist in this country for several decades.”
Mona Sedky, an assistant U.S. attorney argued that imposing prison time “will send a loud and clear message to other would-be rioters that if and when they’re caught, they will face a serious sentence. So there won’t be a next time.”