West Virginia brothers who brought bats to the US Capitol on January 6 sentenced
(CNN) — Two West Virginia brothers who brought bats to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, were sentenced Thursday by a federal judge in Washington, DC.
Eric Cramer, 43, who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a restricted area and tried to grab a baton from a police officer, was sentenced to eight months in prison. His brother, Country Cramer, 38 — who entered the Capitol for two minutes on January 6 — was sentenced to 45 days of home detention after pleading guilty to unlawfully parading or picketing.
The brothers traveled together to DC to support members of Congress who were contesting the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote in several states, according to their plea agreement.
While at the Capitol, Eric Cramer — wearing a gas mask throughout the day and carrying with him a baseball bat — grabbed an officer’s baton and attempted to pull it from his hands before another officer came forward and Cramer backed away, the judge said during the hearing.
Eric Cramer posted a photo on Facebook of a police baton which, he wrote, he took “from the cop that hit me with it … so I guess that’s my trophy,” according to court documents.
Judge Randolph Moss told Eric Cramer the Justice Department could have charged him with a felony for interfering with law enforcement officers and that the baseball bat — though there is no evidence it was ever used as a weapon — concerned him greatly.
Someone carrying a baseball bat, Moss said, was likely “engaging in threatening behavior unless they’re walking up to the plate.”
“It is just more and more disturbing the more I see,” Moss said of the Capitol attack. “It was one of the most regrettable days in our country.”
Before being sentenced, Eric Cramer apologized for his actions and said he understood how the bat could be seen as threatening, adding that he only brought it for protection after seeing how violent some protests had become over the previous year.
“I know in my heart though that I was not there for negative anything,” Eric Cramer told the judge.
According to investigators, the FBI received a tip from a classmate of Eric Cramer’s daughter, after she posted a photo of Cramer’s Facebook post bragging about the baton. “MY DAD YALL,” his daughter allegedly wrote, adding a rock-and-roll emoji along with one of an American flag.
Prosecutors did not mention the baton during the sentencing Thursday and the plea agreement does not say whether the baton in the photo was stolen from an officer.
Country Cramer brought a miniature baseball bat with him, which he told the judge he kept in his backpack while on Capitol grounds.
Country Cramer told the judge, “Had I known how the day would have turned out on the 6th, I would have never of came.” He said he brought the small bat and wore a helmet because he expected to walk back to their car in the dark that night and “that can be a little scary” — citing past violent protests.