Legal expert from UB weighs in on case involving a Buffalo man who stormed the Capitol

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo man is facing multiple federal charges, including assaulting an officer, after images were released connecting him to the riots on the Capitol earlier this year.

“This is not a case I would want a jury to have to decide. This is not a particularly sympathetic defendant and these are not facts that are going to appeal to a jury’s sensibility,” said University at Buffalo law professor Christine Bartholomew.

Multiple photos and videos show Buffalo resident Thomas Sibick storming the capitol. Prosecutors say it was then that he assaulted a DC metropolitan police officer.

According to court documents, and as seen in the pictures, Sibick ripped the officers badge and radio off his uniform. Sibick then took those items back to Buffalo and buried the badge in his backyard.

Bartholomew, who is not involved in the case, says the prosecution has enough evidence to press charges.

“We have so much of the information already available to us,” she said. “We already know who this individual was. We already know he’s admitted to being on the capital on the day of the event. And we already know that there is so much footage.”

Bartholomew expects the case will most likely settle with a plea deal and it’s a matter of how quickly both sides will agree on the deal.

“99 percent of civil cases settle, over 93 percent of criminal cases settle so just playing the number game you’d think that would be the case,” she said. “Add to it the strength of the prosecutions case here and the amount of evidence the defendant is facing and it seems like a plea would be very likely.”

Sibick is facing a number of charges, including entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct on capital grounds and assaulting an officer. He is due back in court on Tuesday.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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