DENVER – The Denver Police Department said it is “extremely disappointed” and looking further into a letter an unidentified sergeant within the department wrote in support of a Colorado man indicted in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In a motion for pretrial release filed on Tuesday by the attorney for Jeffrey Sabol in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where Sabol is charged, the sergeant was one of 30 of Sabol’s friends, family members and acquaintances who offered letters in support of Sabol and his release pending trial.
The sergeant, whose name is redacted in the court filing, says he or she is a 23-year veteran of the Denver Police Department who lives in a “small mountain community” in Jefferson County where Sabol also lives.
He or she wrote that they were surprised to hear that Sabol was involved in the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and said the portrayal of their friend “by the media is inconsistent with the good moral character of the Jeff I know,” as the sergeant wrote in the letter.
“Of all people, I understand the seriousness of this incident, especially as it relates to my Brother’s [sic] in Blue; however, I hope the court will show some leniency on Jeff Sabol,” the sergeant wrote.
The sergeant went on to say how his or her family has spent significant time with Sabol’s and that he is a good father who has never had an issue with the sergeant being a police officer.
“I am surprised of any misconduct, but it comes as no surprise that Jeff is ready to accept responsibility for his actions. It is my sincere hope the court takes this letter into consideration. Despite this current case, I still believe Jeff Sabol to be an honorable person, a valuable member of the Jefferson County community, and a good human being,” the sergeant wrote.
Sabol was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 29 in the District of Columbia on eight counts: one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; two counts of civil disorder; one count of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; one count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon; one count of engaging in physical violence in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.
The first seven counts are felonies and the last is a misdemeanor.
According to an affidavit, criminal complaint, and the indictment, Sabol, who is a geophysicist, alleged grabbed a police officer outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, dragged him down the stairs and hit him repeatedly in the head and body. He was kicked away by another officer he tried to grab, but was able to grab another officer shortly afterward, whom he pulled down the stairs and punched, according to the court documents.
FBI investigators had seen him wearing a tan jacket, black helmet, green backpack and black gloves in videos and pictures found in news reports and on the internet of the insurrection.
Sabol was arrested on Jan. 11 in New City, New York, after he was pulled over for driving erratically. He was found covered in blood, with severe lacerations from an apparent suicide attempt, and told officers he was “done fighting” and that he was “wanted by the FBI” after “fighting tyranny in the DC Capitol,” court documents showed.
Inside the car, officers found razor blades, notes with a computer password, Sabol’s passport, Social Security card, an airline e-ticket, rental car agreement and several electronic devices. The Associated Press reported that the airline ticket was a ticket to Switzerland from Boston.
Also found in his vehicle, according to the complaint, was a green backpack and tan Carhartt jacket that investigators had previously seen Sabol wearing in the videos and photos found on the internet.
When he was being interviewed by FBI agents, Sabol admitted to being the man in the videos, but claimed he was patting officers on the back and covering them for their safety rather than standing over them and punching them.
He also told investigators, according to the complaint, that he “answered the call because he was a patriot” after some people outside the Capitol announced a “call to battle” that day.
In the Tuesday court filing, Sabol’s attorney, Jon W. Norris, claimed to have videos of him at the Capitol urging others not to attack officers and submitted the testimony from friends, family members and acquaintances arguing as to why Sabol is not a flight risk and has good character.
“The attached character letters indicate that any alleged violent conduct by Mr. Sabol would be out of character for him,” Norris wrote. “…To the extent that probable cause for these offenses exist, the letters indicate that it would be an aberration at the very least. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Sabol had reached a mental breaking point. He has recovered from the episode and is focused on resolving this case responsibly.”
Norris asked the court to allow Sabol to be released pending trial with strict supervision conditions and said Sabol “has a long record of living as a productive and positive member of society.”
The judge has yet to rule on the motion, according to court records. Sabol is currently being held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia.
As to the Denver Police Department sergeant, the department said in a statement it was investigating the letter in support of Sabol.
“The Denver Police Department strongly condemns the actions of those who took part in the U.S. Capitol riot and is extremely disappointed that an unknown Denver Police officer submitted a letter in support of an arrestee – especially given the allegation against him. The Department is looking into this matter further,” the department said.
Sabol is one of at least five men from Colorado to have been charged in connection to their actions in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. Another man who has been charged traveled there from Colorado and threatened to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.