More convictions are being handed down to participants in the Jan. 6 insurrection. This week one man who proudly waved the Confederate flag as he ravaged the U.S. Capitol building and chased down a Black officer with the symbol of racial violence was sentenced to three years behind bars for his actions on that day in 2021.
Kevin Seefried, a 53-year-old Delaware native, and his son, Hunter Seefried, 24, breached the building that afternoon with thousands of others, many of whom had attended a rally at a park across from the White House before marching on the Capitol.
Seefried and his son were angry that President Donald Trump — who spoke at the rally that day — lost the 2020 presidential election. They joined a movement organized mostly online called “Stop the Steal,” with the objective to prevent then-President-elect Joe Biden’s election from being certified by Congress.
“Stop the Steal” was motivated by the erroneous belief that the Biden-Harris ticket won because of voter fraud, a news release from the Justice Department stated.
According to the prosecution, the father confronted U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman with aggression and violence.
Goodman, the officer who was seen in videos directing a crowd of rioters away from the chamber where the Senate was secured, has also been heralded as the person who saved the lives of tens of elected officials and their staff members on that day with his brave actions.
Still, he understood the danger he and the rest of the people around him were in.
“Kudos to everyone there that showed a measure of restraint in regards to deadly force, because it could have been bad,” Goodman in a January 2022 interview on the podcast “3 Brothers No Sense” as he described how law enforcement officers generally refrained using their weapons that day.
The government’s sentencing memo said, “Seefried was the first rioter to encounter USCP Officer Eugene Goodman in a doorway near the base of the Senate East Grand Staircase.”
“At that point, Seefried, who was still holding his Confederate Battle flag, was at the front of the mob, and for a time, appeared to Officer Goodman to be the only rioter in the area. When Officer Goodman commanded Seefried to leave, Seefried jabbed the base of the flagpole at him,” it continued.
“Officer Goodman recalled that Seefried was very angry and made statements such as ‘I’m not leaving,’ ‘Where are the members at?’ and ‘Where are they counting the votes at?’ Seefried also told Officer Goodman, ‘You can shoot me man, but we’re coming in,’” the document shared.
The Seefrieds were arrested a week later on Jan. 14, 2021, in Delaware. The two were charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony with a potential 20-year prison sentence, and four trespassing and disorderly conduct misdemeanors that carry a potential combined three years behind bars.
The two were convicted of the felonious charge of obstruction of an official proceeding.
While both Seefrieds faced up to 20 years in prison, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden did not give either of them the maximum sentencing for all of the convictions.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, the judge gave the father 36 months in prison for his felony conviction of obstruction of an official proceeding. He also received an additional 12 months and six months, to be served concurrently, for misdemeanor charges that include: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
When his sentence is complete, McFadden said the father must participate in 12 months of supervised release and pay restitution of $2,000.
The prosecutors recommended a sentence of 70 months for the elder Seefried. His defense team asked he received 12 months and one day of jail time.
Hunter Seefried was sentenced on Oct. 24 to 24 months in prison. The son was acquitted of an additional charge of destroying government property based on his allegedly clearing some glass out of the smashed window frame. His lawyers argued his father heavily persuaded him to participate.
The sentencing memo also explained the elder Seefried’s affection and connection to the Confederate flag, saying he didn’t process its treasonous and domestic terrorist implications.
Kevin Seefried told the court he was raised that the Confederate flag was a “symbol of an idealized view of Southern life and Southern heritage,” adopted after the secession of the Confederate States during the Civil War.
His brief suggested, “Mr. Seefried did not appreciate the complex and for many, painful, history behind the Confederate battle flag. It was difficult for Mr. Seefried to recognize the extent to which the flag is a controversial symbol and while some view the flag as a symbol of southern heritage as he had been taught, opponents see it as a symbol of racism and slavery.”
NBC News reported the elder Seefried said this week during his sentencing, “I thought that standing there and using my voice was protected under freedom of speech, but I know I crossed the line.”
“Deeply sorry for my part in January 6. I never wanted to send a message of hate,” he added.
Goodman is an Army vet who served in Iraq. He is one of many Black officers who served the nation on that day and endured racialized comments and violence, as he tried to de-escalate the violence.
Some 900 individuals have been arrested on charges of participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection and riot. Of that number, approximately 500 people have entered guilty pleas.