The man who marched around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, waving a Confederate battle flag that he also used to threaten a Black police officer was sentenced Thursday to three years behind bars.
Kevin Seefried, 53, teared up before U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. The judge told him that bringing the flag into “one of our nation’s most sacred halls” was “outrageous.”
“I never wanted to send a message of hate,” Seefried told the judge, according to The Associated Press.
The Delaware man breached the Capitol alongside his son, Hunter Seefried, who was sentenced in October to two years in prison. Both had been found guilty last June of charges including obstruction of an official proceeding.
Photographs of the elder Seefried with his flag shocked many Americans in the aftermath of the attack on Congress ― the pro-slavery symbol had never been openly flown in the Capitol in the nation’s history.
At one point, Seefried had used the flag as a weapon against U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who faced off against a mob of Donald Trump supporters by himself and successfully diverted them away from areas where lawmakers were being evacuated.
Goodman testified in court that Seefried tried to push him away by jabbing the flagpole toward him.
He was “saying things like, ‘Fuck you, I’m not leaving,’ ‘Where are the members at?’ ‘Where are they counting the votes?’” Goodman said, according to CNN. Supporters of then-President Trump had been incited to storm the Capitol to disrupt the official counting of the 2020 Electoral College votes by both houses of Congress before the inauguration of Joe Biden.
Seefried’s lawyers stated in court documents that as a high school dropout who grew up in an abusive household, Seefried was not aware of the hateful message the flag sent.
“He was taught that the flag was a symbol of an idealized view of southern life and southern heritage,” the attorneys wrote. “Lacking an education beyond the ninth grade and lacking even average intellectual capacity, Mr. Seefried did not appreciate the complex and, for many, painful, history behind the Confederate battle flag.”
The FBI did not find any evidence that either Seefried or his son were affiliated with far-right extremist groups, the AP reported.
Seefried’s attorneys noted that, amid the fallout over his participation in the Capitol attack, his wife had left him.