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Arkansas man who joined mob beating of cop on Jan. 6 pleads guilty


Left: Peter Stager faces the camera in a video screengrab. Right: Stager is seen holding a pole in the crowd of Jan. 6 rioters beating a police officer, seen lying face-down (images via FBI court filings).

An Arkansas man has admitted to being part of a mob that assaulted a police officer during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Peter Francis Stager, 43, of Conway, was seen on video using a flagpole with an American flag attached to it to beat a Metropolitan Police Department officer, identified in court filings only as “B.M.” Images of the attack show the officer lying face down on steps outside the Capitol, the words “METROPOLITAN POLICE” emblazoned on the back of his uniform.

Stager pleaded guilty Thursday to one degree of assaulting, resisting, or impeding a police officer using a deadly or dangerous weapon, according to a Justice Department news release announcing the guilty plea.

The assault on the officer took place relatively late in the day. According to court documents, Officer B.M. took a post in an archway that provided access to the exterior of the Capitol building between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., some two hours after the initial breach of the building took place. As B.M. tried to prevent rioters from getting inside, some of the rioters grabbed him and dragged him down the stairs.

“After other members of the crowd pulled MPD Officer B.M. off of the police line and down a set of steps, Stager repeatedly struck Officer B.M. with a flagpole while the officer was prone on the steps,” the news release says.

According to prosecutors, Stager was also seen on video making his feelings known about what was supposed to be happening in the Capitol at the time — Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Donald Trump.

“Everybody in there is a disgrace,” he said, according to the DOJ news release. “That entire building is filled with treasonous traitors. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building.”

“Every single one of those Capitol law enforcement officers, death is the remedy, that is the only remedy they get,” he also said.

Stager was arrested on Jan. 14, 2021, just days after the Capitol riot.

He is one of nine defendants initially charged in the assault: co-defendants Mason Joel Courson, Logan James Barnhart, Jack Wade Whitton, and Justin Jersey have previously pleaded guilty, while the cases Jeffrey Sabol, Clayton Ray Mullins, and Ronald Colton McAbee are still pending. Defendant Michael John Lopatic Sr. died in July.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, a Barack Obama appointee, set sentencing for July 24, 2023.

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