230 people were mass arrested during demonstrations against Donald Trump's Inauguration.
The arrests were made by use of a "kettle" technique on the corners of 12th and L Streets, after no orders to disperse. 214 of these arrestees were charged under the Federal Riot Statute. On April 27th, multiple additional felony charges were added. One trial group was acquitted of all charges, and the Attorney's Office dropped charges against an additional 129 defendants on January 18, 2018. There are still 58 people who are being prosecuted with multiple felonies and face up to 60 years in prison.
The prosecution's case rests on a broad interpretation of the Federal Riot Statute, which could make a participant in a political rally guilty for any property damage that takes place during that time. A superceding indictment added addtional charges of urging to riot, conspiracy to riot, individualized property damange, and for over half the group, assaulting an officer or resisting arrest. These additional charges were given with no new group evidence or individual particulars.
The DC Attorney's Office is trying to set a repressive precedent for political expression under the administration of Donald Trump with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It is incumbent upon anyone who values dissent to stand in solidarity with the defendents in this case. This case in many way resembles the 800 water protectors in the midst of Grand Jury processes in North Dakota, those arrested during actions against Confederate statues and rulings on police violence, and other resisters arrested and charged under riot statutes throughout the country.
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