Federal Magistrate Thomas Ray ordered that Peter Stager of Conway be denied release as he awaits further proceedings arising from his arrest in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Ray heard arguments from the government and Stager’s lawyer Lauren Elenbaas of Conway then ruled that there were “no conditions or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of the community.”
Stager was present, but didn’t speak.
Ray ordered Stager detained until resolution of all charges and said an order transferring Stager to the District of Columbia will follow. So far, he’s been charged with one count of obstructing a police officer from his duties during a civil disorder.
Stager was arrested on Jan. 15 in Conway at a lawyer’s office. He’s been accused of beating a Capitol police officer with a pole to which an American flag was affixed. He also is identified as the man in a video at the event who said, “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building.”
An observer of the proceeding provided me with this account:
The judge found Stager’s conduct “shocking” and said that worse charges could be filed. He called his declaration that everyone should die “absolutely stunning.”
Stager’s actions were described as a crime of violence against a helpless victim (an officer lying on the steps). The judge said the risk to the community didn’t outweigh factors favoring release, including no record of previous violent incidents. But going from zero to this episode suggests home detention isn’t good enough to restrain him, he said.
Stager was said to have a history of marijuana, ecstasy and meth use until “recently.” The judge wondered whether he was under the influence of meth in Washington, given the rage displayed on the video. He said Stager’s wife had been a good witness for him, but not enough to overcome the video evidence.
The judge concluded violence could arise again. The event was triggered by Stager’s belief in Trump’s claims of election fraud, he said, despite the conclusion of every judge that there had been none.
“He’s too filled with anger and rage to not be detained,” the judge said. “Contrition might have helped,” he said. He noted Stager had turned himself in, but contrition would have been saying something like what can I do to apologize to my beating victim. There was none.