A former New York City police officer was sentenced on Tuesday to 22 months in prison for her role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, during which, federal prosecutors said, she pushed against and slapped police officers while yelling and wielding a tambourine.
The sentencing of the former officer, Sara Carpenter, followed her conviction in March on several felony and misdemeanor counts, including civil disorder, obstruction of official proceeding and entering or remaining in a restricted building or ground, court records show.
Ms. Carpenter, 54, of Richmond Hill, Queens, is among more than 1,200 people — and one of at least 15 with law enforcement ties — to be criminally charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, according to court records and a Justice Department news release.
She and other supporters of former President Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol that day in a bid to disrupt the certification of President Biden as the winner of the 2020 election. Mr. Trump has been charged with conspiracy and the corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding as a result of the riot, and a federal investigation into the day’s events is continuing.
Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court in Washington also sentenced Ms. Carpenter to serve two years of supervised release after her prison term ends. Prosecutors had sought a 66-month prison sentence and three years of supervised release, court records show; her lawyers had sought a sentence of two years’ probation.
A lawyer for Ms. Carpenter, Elizabeth Ann Mullin of the federal public defender’s office in Washington, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ms. Carpenter, who grew up in Richmond Hill as the eldest of five children, “has long struggled with mental health issues,” according to a court filing submitted by her lawyers before the sentencing. She studied art at Marymount Manhattan College before joining the Police Department in 2000, the filing says.
Her mental health deteriorated after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when she was among the officers who responded to the World Trade Center site, the filing says. She was eventually deemed unable to work because of serious depression and was approved for retirement on disability, the filing says. She retired as an officer in 2004, the Police Department said.
Ms. Carpenter was charged for her role in the riot after security cameras filmed her confronting a phalanx of officers as they guarded a hallway leading to the U.S. Senate chambers. Despite having been told to leave, she stayed for a half-hour, prosecutors said.
At one point, prosecutors said, she could be heard yelling at the officers, “I’m an animal,” with a vulgarity added for emphasis, and “It ain’t stopping.” When an officer tried to push her back, she slapped away the officer’s arm with her tambourine.
As she left the Capitol, prosecutors said, she raised the tambourine in apparent celebration of what she thought was the rioters’ success in stopping the certification of the election result.
“The breach was made,” she announced. “It needs to calm down now. Congress needs to come out. They need to certify Trump as president. This is our house.”
About a day after the riot, the F.B.I. received an anonymous tip that Ms. Carpenter had called a relative and told that person she had made it inside the Capitol and had been hit with tear gas, according to a criminal complaint.
Ms. Carpenter’s lawyers said in their filing that she had come to Washington “to express her earnestly held belief that — as the president and other prominent leaders had been exhorting — the 2020 election was ‘stolen.’”
“She did not engage in any violence or destruction of property,” the filing says. “Instead, she shook a small tambourine.”
Another former New York City police officer, Thomas Webster, was convicted in May 2022 for his role in the riot on charges that included assault. Mr. Webster, who swung a metal flagpole at a Washington officer during the riot, was sentenced in September to 10 years in prison.