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The Heart-Wrenching Story of Lt. Colonel Larry Brock and the Fight for Free Speech

In the aftermath of January 6, 2021, many individuals found themselves caught in a legal and political storm. Among them is retired Lt. Colonel Larry Brock. His story is a poignant reminder of the complexities surrounding that day and the broader implications of justice, free speech, and the right to protest in America.

The Incident: 

On January 6th, 2021, retired Lt. Colonel Larry Brock entered the U.S. Capitol believing he was part of a peaceful protest. Unbeknownst to him, violence was unfolding on the other side of the building. Brock found himself facing severe charges, not as an individual but as part of a collective accused of attempting to overthrow the government. This article explores the complexities of Brock's case, his personal account, and the broader implications for free speech and protest rights in America.

A Veteran’s Journey:

Lt. Colonel Larry Brock, a decorated Air Force officer who flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, stood in the Capitol, bewildered and concerned. Despite his peaceful actions, Brock has been charged with serious offenses, including entering and remaining in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. The prosecution has framed him as part of a broader attempt to overturn the government, a narrative Brock vehemently denies.

Brock maintains that he was unaware of the violence occurring elsewhere at the Capitol. Video footage shows him wandering the halls, unarmed, and not engaging in any violent behavior. Yet, prosecutors in Washington, D.C., have charged him not just as an individual but as part of a group intent on overturning the government.

A Heroic Act: 

After listening to President Trump speak, Brock walked to the Capitol. At the time he arrived, there was no fencing, no signs indicating trespassing, and the doors to the Capitol were already open. He was unaware of any violent actions until he entered the Capitol.

Inside, Brock saw a man in street clothes being harassed by a protester. He placed himself between the protester and the man, later identified as Capitol police officer Nairobi Timberlake, who testified on behalf of Brock as being instrumental in diffusing a tense situation and protecting him.

Brock also found zip-ties on the floor, which he picked up, unaware they had been dropped by Capitol police who had abandoned their post. He went into the Senate gallery, preventing people from destroying items, and later demanded a protester vacate the Vice President's chair, insisting on respect and non-violence.

Legal Battles: 

Brock's case highlights the prosecutorial approach taken by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the wake of January 6. Charged with multiple offenses, including trespassing and obstructing an official proceeding, Brock faced severe penalties despite his lack of violent action. His defense argues that the removal of barriers and the chaotic nature of the day led to his unintended trespass. His actions were non-violent, yet the DOJ, in an attempt to squash Americans' First Amendment rights to protest, painted a fictional account of his actions, lying about his intent.

According to the Justice Department, Brock was sentenced to 24 months in prison for the felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding. He was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison for five misdemeanor counts, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol Building; entering and remaining on the floor of Congress; disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building. All sentences were to run concurrently.

Brock has served his time for the misdemeanor sentences. His release was delayed pending the Supreme Court ruling on Fischer v. United States. Today, the case was decided, throwing out the charges against a former Pennsylvania police officer who entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attacks. By a vote of 6-3, the justices ruled that the law Fischer was charged with violating, which bars obstruction of an official proceeding, applies only to evidence tampering, such as the destruction of records or documents, in official proceedings. The same charge culminating in a felony offense for Brock.

Impact of SCOTUS Decision: 

Today's Supreme Court decision offers a glimmer of hope for Larry Brock. It underscores the importance of distinguishing between peaceful protesters and those who engaged in violent acts. Brock's defense is likely to leverage this ruling to argue for reduced charges or even the dismissal of some counts, highlighting his lack of intent to harm or disrupt government proceedings violently.

The problem with this:

All the misdemeanors were to run concurrent with the 2-year felony, so the longest sentence he should hae had is a year, however the judge is stating he is going to stack some of the misdemeanors to make him serve a 16 month sentence. Assuming that Fischer does not affect Brock’s § 1512(c)(2) conviction, the Court would likely re-sentence Brock to 16 months’ imprisonment.

The seriousness of Brock's conduct that would impose a top range sentence was vitriolic social media posts. To be more specific, an angry tone on social media expressing discontent with the outcome of the election.

A Broader Reflection: 

The story of Larry Brock is emblematic of the broader debates surrounding January 6. It raises crucial questions about the balance between security and civil liberties, the role of intent in criminal prosecution, and the interpretation of justice in politically charged cases.

As America continues to grapple with the aftermath of January 6, stories like that of Lt. Colonel Larry Brock remind us of the human element behind the headlines. Today's SCOTUS decision in the Fischer case is a step toward a more just and balanced legal approach, recognizing the importance of intent and individual actions. For Brock and many others, it represents a chance for a fairer assessment of their involvement and a potential path toward redemption.

His sentencing guidelines are detailed below.

While Brock is currently serving the balance of his sentence in a halfway house, he has plans to restore his life, by getting back his license to fly, reuniting with his 10 year old son, and restoringthe pride of his parents. Perhaps in the future he will be considered a political hero who endured persecution of this justice department so that all Americans can retain their rights.

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