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A Georgia business owner who bragged about “feeding” an officer to the crowd of Capitol rioters is sentenced to nearly five years in prison – WABE

A Georgia business owner who bragged that he “fed” a police officer to a group of rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, as he stormed the U.S. Capitol was charged with nearly five on Thursday for repeated attacks on law enforcement during the insurrection sentenced to years in prison.

Jack Wade Whitton beat an officer with a metal crutch and dragged him – head first, face down – into the crowd on the Capitol's Lower West Terrace. Whitton later bragged in a text message that he “fed him to the people.”

About 20 minutes later, Whitton attempted to pull a second officer into the crowd, prosecutors said. He also kicked and threatened officers and threw a tree branch at them to stop the crowd of then-President Donald Trump's supporters.

“You're going to die tonight!” he shouted at police after hitting an officer's riot shield.

Whitton, of Locust Grove, Georgia, expressed remorse for his “horrible” actions on Jan. 6 before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras sentenced him to four years and nine months in prison. The 33-year-old will be given credit for the three years he has been imprisoned since his arrest.

“I tell you with confidence: I have changed,” Whitton told the judge.

Whitton, who pleaded guilty to assault charges last year, told the judge that he had never been a “political person.”

“I was never a troublemaker. I have always been a hard worker and a law-abiding citizen,” he said.

The judge said the videos of Whitton attacking police were “cruel.”

“You were really out of control,” the judge told him.

Prosecutors recommended a prison sentence of eight years and one month for Whitton, who owned and operated his own fence construction business before his arrest in April 2021.

“Whitton looked for opportunities to attack: in his three documented assaults, he was either the ringleader or a lone actor,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

Videos show that simultaneous attacks on police by Whitton and a co-defendant, Justin Jersey, “triggered the enraged onslaught of violence” on Lower West Terrace, prosecutors said.

“As Whitton and Jersey began their attacks, the mood of the crowd audibly changed,” they wrote. “Other rioters rushed to the archway and joined the attack, throwing objects at the officers and beating them with makeshift weapons such as a hockey stick, pieces of wood, a flagpole and a police riot shield.”

Whitton was among nine defendants charged over the same attack. Two co-defendants, Logan Barnhart and Jeffrey Sabol, helped Whitton drag an officer into the crowd before other rioters beat the officer with a flagpole and a stolen police baton.

That evening, Whitton texted someone with pictures of his bloody hands.

“This is from a bad cop,” he wrote. “Yeah, I fed it to people. (I don't know) his status. And I don’t care (to be honest).”

Defense attorney Komron Jon Maknoon said Whitton traveled to Washington to support his girlfriend because she wanted to “witness a historic event” on Jan. 6 when Trump, a Republican, held a rally as Congress declared his defeat in the presidential election Joe Biden, a Democrat, wanted to be confirmed in 2020.

“Although his motives were not politically motivated, he has a genuine love for his country and shares the desire for free and fair elections, just like any other citizen,” Maknoon wrote.

The judge previously sentenced seven of Whitton's co-defendants to prison terms ranging from two years and six months to five years and 10 months.

More than 1,350 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol insurrection. Over 850 of them were convicted, around two thirds received prison sentences ranging from a few days to 22 years.

Anna Harden

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