Grand Jury Indicts Five More Inauguration-Day Protesters on Felony Rioting Charges, Over 200 Now Facing Jail Time
A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted five more demonstrators on Tuesday, Feb. 21, on felony rioting charges stemming from the violent Inauguration Day protests that erupted in the capital last month, bringing the total number of indictments to 214.
Crowds of “anti-fascist” demonstrators clashed with police on the morning of Jan. 20 as they protested the official swearing-in of disputed President-elect Donald Trump. Protesters clad in all black laid waste to the capital city, vandalizing storefronts and bus stops, smashing the windows of a limousine and hurling rocks and other objects at D.C. officers, according to CNN.
Police launched tear gas and flash-bang grenades in response to the chaos as they worked to disperse the crowd of protesters. CNN reported that a total of six officers were injured and 230 protesters were arrested that day.
In late January, federal prosecutors warned that those arrested would likely face federal rioting charges, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The court accused the defendants of engaging in “black bloc” tactics in which demonstrators wear dark clothes and accessories like masks, scarves and shades to hide their identities.
In addition, UPI.com reported that a demonstrator from Florida named Dane Powell wasn’t only accused of rioting but also of assaulting three police officers. A majority of the other protesters were charged with smashing windows at nearby Starbucks and McDonald’s, torching a limo and engaging in other “violent and destructive acts,” according to the indictment.