Federal prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of more than two months for a Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt.
Photographs of Robert Keith Packer wearing the sweatshirt with the antisemitic message went viral after the January 6th attack on the Capitol. The words “Camp Auschwitz” were above an image of a human skull on Packer’s sweatshirt. It also bore the phrase “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of the German words above the entrance gate to Auschwitz, the concentration camp in Poland where Nazis killed more than 1 million men, women, and children. When FBI agents asked him why he wore the sweatshirt, he “fatuously replied ‘because I was cold,’” prosecutors said in their sentencing memo.
More than 100 police officers were injured when a mob of Donald Trump supporters attacked the Capitol while Congress was holding a joint session to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. “Without expressing any remorse for being part of the rioting that day, Packer continually said it was ‘hard to tell’ which side people were on,” prosecutors wrote.
NEW: Justice Dept to seek 75 days jail in Jan 6 case of Robert Packer of Virginia, who is accused of being in lobby and office suite area of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and "has been a habitual criminal offender for twenty-five years, with 21 convictions" & wore "Camp Auschwitz" shirt pic.twitter.com/CUdetOeDk0
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) May 16, 2022
FBI agents arrested Packer a week after the riot. He told the FBI that he was about 10 to 12 feet away from a rioter, Ashli Babbitt, when a police officer fatally shot her. “He told the agents he heard the shot and saw her fall back from the window she was trying to climb through,” prosecutors wrote.
Here's Robert Packer roaming Nancy Pelosi's office suite while wearing a "Camp Auschwitz" sweatshirt: pic.twitter.com/WpysMaxQiS
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) May 16, 2022
Packer has remained free pending his sentencing hearing. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols is scheduled to sentence Packer on May 23rd. He faces a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment after pleading guilty in January to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.