On Thursday, NBC News reported that the sister of a January 6 rioter is asking the judge scheduled to sentence him not to "judge a book by its cover" just because he was photographed wearing a sweatshirt that said "Camp Auschwitz" — a reference to the infamous Nazi detention facility where over 1 million Jews and ethnic minorities were murdered.
"Robert Keith Packer was arrested the week after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and pleaded guilty a year later, in January, to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful picketing and parading," noted Ryan J. Reilly. "The government wants him to serve 75 days of incarceration as well as three years of probation."
According to previous reports, Packer, who lives in Newport News, Virginia, was found to have Nazi paraphernalia when authorities searched his home, including pictures of Hitler, swastika artwork, and a folder titled "Whites Only Material."
Despite all this, wrote his sister Kimberly Rice to District Judge Carl Nichols, he is a kind and misunderstood person "with a HUGE heart and gentle soul."
"Over the last year and half the media has portrayed and described a person who he is NOT and NEVER has been," wrote Rice in her letter. "His day to day living over the last year and half has been so altered and a major struggle for him, living in fear because of the news media slandering his name and making him out to be some monster that he absolutely is not, losing his long tenure job, death threats to him and and so on."
She went on to add that "It’s so easy to judge a book by it’s [sic] cover, without knowing the details of what is truly inside — yet it is also so wrong. All over a sweatshirt — yes a sweatshirt."
Over 900 people have been charged so far over the January 6 insurrection. Most face misdemeanor charges like unlawful picketing, trespassing, and disorderly conduct, but several face serious felonies like assaulting law enforcement, or in the case of leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, seditious conspiracy. Two members of President Donald Trump's inner circle, Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, were also charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with investigators, and Bannon has already been convicted.