CHICAGO (CBS) – A retired Chicago firefighter who admitted he was part of a group that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced on Friday to serve two months in prison.
Joseph Pavlik, 66, of Chicago, also received a sentence of six months of home confinement, and 24 months of supervised release, and has to pay a $6,000 fine and $2,000 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in August to civil disorder and entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. said Pavlik drove from Illinois to D.C. on Jan 5, 2021, and stayed in a hotel with members of the B Squad, a subgroup of a militia-style, Florida-based organization known as the Guardians of Freedom.
He then attended the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, returned to his hotel room, and then dressed in a black tactical vest, a black gas mask, a black riot helmet with patches on the side, and goggles. He also took with him a can of chemical spray to the U.S. Capitol, where he and members of the B Squad went to the Lower West Terrace of the building. That's where they joined other rioters attempting to force their way past the police officers responsible for securing the Tunnel, prosecutors said.
Pavlik was the first member of his group to push against a police line and into the Tunnel. Even after police successfully expelled him from the Tunnel entrance, he took out the canister of chemical spray he brought with him and put his hand on the nozzle. The crowd jostled him and he fumbled the can before he could use it against the officers.
Before walking away, Pavlik passed a can of chemical spray back to the mouth of the Tunnel where another rioter grabbed it and used it on officers.
After the riot, Pavlik wrote about his conduct on social media in a series of posts, including writing that there "wasn't one person with a weapon" at the Capitol, even though he brought the chemical spray. Prosecutors said he also wrote, "It's past time. We need an insurrection or a revolution and it has to be so convincing that the left will never raise their had above ground again."
He was arrested on Jan. 31, 2023, in Chicago.
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