A former New York police officer who was seen — and heard — shaking a tambourine as she made her way through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has been convicted of a slew of felonies and misdemeanors in connection with the riot.
Sara Carpenter, 53, was seen on surveillance footage inside the Capitol Rotunda at around 2:45 p.m., around a half-hour after Donald Trump supporters had first breached the Capitol after violently overwhelming police, the Justice Department said in a press release. The mob’s entry into the building forced Congress to halt its certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win and either evacuate the building or shelter in place for several harrowing hours.
“Carpenter confronted a line of police officers inside the Capitol, shook her tambourine and screamed ‘I’m a f—— animal,”” the DOJ’s press release says, adding that she pushed up against law enforcement officers who were guarding a hallway into the Senate chamber.
According to investigators, Carpenter voluntarily provided the tambourine — as well as other items she had with her at the Capitol that day — to federal agents, along with a video she took while inside.
She also voluntarily provided the FBI with a video she took while inside the Capitol. The affidavit described the video as having been “shot as if the videographer was twirling in a circle as the camera was rolling.”
While inside the Capitol, Carpenter was also seen slapping the arms of officers who were trying to hold her back from proceeding further into the building. According to prosecutors, she stayed in the building for 34 minutes, “despite being told to leave, and despite enduring the effects of chemical irritants.”
After she left the building, Carpenter was still insistent that Congress answer the pro-Trump mob.
“The breach was made,” she said. “It needs to calm down now. Congress needs to come out. They need to certify Trump as president. This is our house.”
The investigation revealed that Carpenter, who had left New York between 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, returned to her home in Queens that night.
After a three-day trial and one day of deliberation, a jury convicted Carpenter of two felonies, civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, which carry a statutory maximum of five and 20 years behind bars, respectively. The jury also found Carpenter guilty of five trespassing and disorderly conduct misdemeanors, which carry a combined 3 1/2 years in jail.
Several former police officers and ex-law enforcement have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riot, and the person currently serving the longest sentence to date in Jan. 6 cases — Thomas Webster — is himself a retired member of the NYPD.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, a Barack Obama appointee, scheduled Carpenter’s sentencing for July 14. The federal docket indicates that Carpenter currently remains free on her own personal recognizance.
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