After All Charges Dropped For Inauguration Rioters, Chief Says New Law Needed

The D.C. police chief suggested changing the riot laws after the failed prosecutions of Inauguration Day protesters.

Washington, DC – D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham has called for restructuring of the city’s rioting laws, after none of the 234 people arrested during Inauguration Day riots were successfully charged.

“These are people that were involved in a riot. And whenever you have a riot you see fires burning, you see windows being smashed, you see rocks, boulders and pieces of steel being thrown at human beings,” Chief Newsham said in June, according to The Washington Post.

“People expect the police to come in and restore order. And I think we did a really good job of that,” he added.

Officers arrested a total of 234 people during the Jan. 20, 2017 uprising, which caused over $100,000 in damages, WTOP reported.

Twenty-one individuals pleaded guilty to their offenses prior to going to trial.

One of those individuals, Dane Powell, served four months in jail for shattering windows and throwing bricks and rocks at police.

214 suspects were indicted on charges, and each faced a potential penalty of 70 years in prison.

But when prosecutors took the first six defendants to trial, jurors found each of them not guilty, prompting prosecutors to drop the charges against the remaining defendants.

“No judicial officers or judges who heard any of the cases ever suggested there wasn’t probable cause for the arrests,” Chief Newsham told WTOP. “Making a case [at trial] beyond a reasonable doubt is a much higher standard.”

Investigators and prosecutors said the masks and black clothing worn by hundreds of the demonstrators made it hard to specifically identify the group of people who caused the destruction.

“Essentially what they were doing was facilitating the illegal behavior, and whenever you make a facilitation case, that’s a difficult case for prosecutors to make,” Chief Newsham explained. “We should consider taking a look at the statute for rioting and maybe adjusting that in a way that protects our city.”

The chief noted that police and prosecutors weren’t the only ones who felt that the individuals responsible for the riotous events should be held accountable.

“I haven’t run into a person yet that wasn’t absolutely appalled by the images they saw in Washington, D.C., that day,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has a tolerance for that.”

“Sometimes the bad guys win,” Chief Newsham told The Washington Post.

Comments (6)
No. 1-6
Twhiting9275
Twhiting9275

Curious what he thinks should be done. I mean, if you can't identify the guys...

Iowa48
Iowa48

Jury nullification, as the jury pool would've been drawn from the epicenter of the Trump Derangement Syndrome, Washington DC.

Iowa48
Iowa48

Federal law could be adapted to cover people wearing masks while conspiring to violate Constitutional Rights. In this case, people had exercised the right and privilege to vote and elect the President, and the rioters were masked up to injure, oppress, threaten , and intimidate people because they had exercised their right to vote. The problem is that the DOJ/FBI are all part of the Resistance/coup d'etat against the Constitution, against President Trump, and against the people of the United States of America, so I won't be holding my breath for them to enforce the law. They haven't enforced it for the masked rioting at Berkeley or other places where anti-Fa prevented speakers from exercising their First Amendment rights.

18 U.S.C. CHAPTER 13 - CIVIL RIGHTS Sec. 241 - Conspiracy against rights

§241. Conspiracy against rights If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

Mrs10
Mrs10

@Twhiting9275 @Iowa48 There is actually current legislative attention to this matter. I read about a bill proposal that would specially criminalize the wearing of masks and/or other identity-obscuring/hiding during a protest. Hopefully something comes of it!

Mrs10
Mrs10

@Iowa48 is that current USC or it is proposed/wishful thinking? It seems really cut and dry so if it's current I don't understand why it's not enforcible. Unless the problem lies with identifying the specific law breakers which is what sound like happened so hopefully the proposed law will handle that.

jericho777
jericho777

One can only imagine the jury pools party affiliation.... Sounds very tainted... And they'll be the first to demand police protection from these same criminals.