Because I’ve been closely tracking the slow roll-out of the people behind the close to 140 assaults on cops on January 6, I’d like to look at how the arrests of three men indicted today, Peter Stager, Jeffrey Sabol, and Michael Lopatic were rolled out by DOJ. They were indicted for the assault on a cop, BM, dragged down the steps and repeated beaten while in a prone position.
After a different cop, CM, attempted to help, Lopatic punched him repeatedly.
Lopatic then walked down to BM and removed his body camera. He threw the camera away on his way home to Lancaster, PA.
Sabol was also charged with assaulting a third cop, AW.
What appears to have happened is that Sabol, realizing what he had done, went off the deep end and got stopped by cops on January 11 in NY. He admitted he was at the riot, but (even after telling cops he was “wanted by the FBI”), he claimed he had only been trying to protect BM, the officer he assaulted with a police baton.
The next day, cops started fielding tips that Stager was the one caught on tape saying, “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building.”
Both Sabol and Stager were charged on January 14, but only with impeding an officer (18 USC 231), not assault.
It’s not yet clear how the FBI found Lopatic, but on January 20, they sent out a BOLO on him and eight others in conjunction with an assault on two DC cops.
When DOJ indicted all three men on January 29, they had IDed but not yet located Lopatic. The motion to seal described that Lopatic — who had taken BM’s body worn camera and disposed of it on his way home — might continue to flee prosecution (though that may be boilerplate).
In other words, while they had the first two main perpetrators of one of the more alarming attacks on cops identified within a week of the attack, DOJ undercharged them and waited to indict them to ensure they’d have Lopatic in custody before revealing any assault charges on the first two.
DOJ is beginning to release charging documents on more of the assault defendants. But with many of them — including Lopatic — it’s clear they’re willing to do more to avoid arrest.
Which is likely why, over a month after the attack, DOJ has still just identified about 35 people responsible for the 139 assaults on cops.
January 11: Clarkstown, NY, police stop Jeffrey Sabol’s car for driving erratically. He tells them, “I am tired, I am done fighting,” “My wounds are self-inflicted,” I was, “fighting tyranny in the DC Capital,” “I am wanted by the FBI.”
January 12: FBI receives a tip that Peter Stager is the person a video saying, “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building,” and seen dragging MPD cop “BM” down the steps in front of the Capitol. Another person describes Stager as the one beating the cop with a flagpole.
January 13: Law Enforcement interviews Sabol. He claims the first assault of a cop caught on tape was actually him, “patting him on the back” and saying, “we got you man.” He claims the second assault — in which he was depicted hitting a cop with a police baton — was him attempting to “protect the officer.”
January 14: Peter Stager charged with just civil disorder, 18 USC 231. Jeffrey Sabol charged, again with just civil disorder.
January 20: FBI releases BOLO poster of Lopatic.
January 29: Sealed indictment obtained against Stager, Sabol, and Lopatic. It charged Stager and Sabol with beating BM with a police baton and a flagpole, Sabol of assaulting a third officer (AW), Lopatic of assaulting CM That day DOJ moved to seal the indictment because,
Defendant Lopatic has not been arrested. Law enforcement is locating the defendant and preparing to arrest him. Moreover, law enforcement is endeavoring to identify additional individuals who were involved in the assaultive conduct in the instant case.
Placing the defendants’ indictment on the public docket at this time could cause the defendant to flee or continue flight from prosecution…
February 3: Lopatic arrested.
February 9: Motion to unseal indictment, motion for detention for Lopatic.