In display of two-tiered justice, Jan 6 suspect given 5-plus years in prison for ‘swinging a pole’

From IRS agents targeting conservative organizations to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department investigating concerned parents as “domestic terrorists” for speaking out at PTA meetings, there is mounting evidence of the politicization of institutions against Americans who stand opposed to progressive agendas.

Perhaps the most prominent display of a separate system of justice has been in the persecution of defendants linked to the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Tuesday, the sentence was handed down to Washington, D.C. local Mark K. Ponder, 56, who pleaded guilty in April to “assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon.”

Ponder will now be incarcerated for 63 months and then will undergo three years of supervised release in addition to a $2,000 fine for restitution.

“According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Ponder assaulted three police officers in a series of incidents in the western portion of the Capitol grounds,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia read.

“At approximately 2:31 p.m. on Jan. 6, after rioters overwhelmed police lines in the West Plaza, Ponder ran out from the crowd and swung a long, thin pole at a U.S. Capitol Police officer. The officer protected himself by raising his riot shield above his head. Ponder’s pole struck the riot shield and broke in two, with part of the pole flying off to the side. Ponder then retreated into the crowd,” the statement explained.

“Moments later, he re-armed himself with a new, thicker pole that was colored with red, white, and blue stripes. At approximately 2:32 p.m., he ran toward a second U.S. Capitol Police officer who also was able to block the pole with his riot shield,” it was explained.

“Then at 2:48 p.m., Ponder joined a crowd of rioters that faced off against a line of officers with the Metropolitan Police Department in the Upper West Terrace. He swung the same striped pole and banged it against the ground in a menacing manner. Then, as the police officers advanced to move the crowd, Ponder wildly swung the pole at the advancing police line, striking an officer in the left shoulder.”

What’s striking about Ponder’s sentence is how severe the punishment appears for such an anemic offense when compared to more troubling crimes taking place across the nation.

For example, 32-year-old Cody Lee Friese of Willmar, Minn., is set to pay less than $1,000 in fines and serve roughly 16 months in prison before supervised release after he assaulted three police officers, hospitalizing one, and several employees at a grocery store in October.

Meanwhile, in New York City a 16-year-old with a prior arrest for robbery and possession of a loaded gun was released on his own recognizance Sunday after he was filmed repeatedly punching an NYPD officer in the head and putting him in a chokehold while resisting arrest.

While no alleged assaults took place, a team from late night host Stephen Colbert’s show was arrested for unlawful entry of the Capitol, the same offense as many from Jan. 6, and attorney Matthew Graves who has been prosecuting those protestors let the “Colbert 9” walk after dropping their charges claiming, “We do not believe it is probable that the Office would be able to obtain and sustain convictions on these charges.”

These concerns about an unequal application of the justice system are not just among average citizens either. Recently former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress after he chose not to answer the subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. This led former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) to assert, “this is just the latest example, unfortunately, of how our Department of Justice has become a political weapon being used by those in power to go after their political enemies.”

She was comparing Bannon’s sentencing to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Director of the CIA John Brennan never even being charged, let alone convicted, for allegedly lying to Congress.

Further still, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pressed the FBI and DOJ for answers after allegations were made that investigations into Hunter Biden were hampered as “FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten opened an assessment which was used…to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation and caused investigative activity to cease.”

“If these,” and other, “allegations are true and accurate, the Justice Department and FBI are — and have been — institutionally corrupted to their very core to the point in which the United States Congress and the American people will have no confidence in the equal application of the law,” Grassley asserted.

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Kevin Haggerty

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