Federal judge blasts prosecutors, asks why Jan 6 protesters are being treated worse than BLM rioters

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WASHINGTON, DC – Rejecting the recommendation of prosecutors, a federal judge blasted prosecutors, saying that the Justice Department was being too hard on those who broke into the Capitol on January 6 compared to the people arrested during anti-racism protests following George Floyd’s murder.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said Friday that he believes the Justice Department has not been “even-handed” with defendants who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, suggesting that they have been treated more harshly than the rioters in last year’s racial unrest.

Judge McFadden made the comments during a sentencing hearing for one of the Capitol rioters, Danielle Doyle, who was pictured entering the Capitol through a broken window and walking peacefully through the building.

The judge questioned why federal prosecutors had not brought more cases against those accused in the 2020 summertime protests led by Antifa and Black Lives Matter, reading out statistics on riot cases in the nation’s capital that were not prosecuted:

“I think the U.S. attorney would have more credibility if it was even-handed in its concern about riots and mobs in this city.”

Prosecutors asked for Doyle to be sentenced to two months of home confinement, but the judge refused. He did not let her off easy, though. Judge McFadden instead gave her a $3,000 fine and ordered her to pay $500 for damages to the Capitol complex. The fine was the heftiest financial penalty a judge has levied so far against an insurrection defendant.

Judge McFadden, a Trump appointee, disagreed with the stricter sentences being handed down by other judges in similar cases, and sentenced Doyle to two months of home confinement. Despite the leniency shown to Doyle, the judge did lecture her:

“You were acting like those looters and rioters who attacked our city last year…

“You participated in a shameful event, a national embarrassment that, like last year’s riots, made us feel less safe and less confident that our country could be governed by democratic values and not mob rule.”

Republicans have been outspoken about what they see as unequal treatment of Capitol rioters and the riots of the summer of 2020. Many rioters since the summer have had sentences reduced, and often charges were dropped despite millions of dollars in damage and many businesses burned to the ground across the country.

An example is U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, who on Friday sentenced another rioter, Andrew Ryan Bennett, to three months of home confinement, accepting the request by prosecutors. In that case, the judge said:

“I can’t emphasize enough, as I’ve said before, that the cornerstone of our democratic republic is the peaceful transfer of power after an election.

“And what you and others did on Jan. 6 was nothing less than an attempt to undermine that system of government.”

Earlier this week, Boasberg sentenced Derek Jancart and Erik Rau, friends from Ohio, to 45 days in jail.

At her hearing, Doyle told the judge she never meant any harm:

“I love this country. So many people came here to represent things that were important to us but in the blink of an eye, all of those things were overshadowed.

“For that I’m sorry, because it overshadowed the things that were good.”

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Biden orders full assessment of ‘domestic violent extremism’ in wake of Capitol riots, does not mention BLM or Antifa

January 22, 2021

 

WASHINGTON, DC – President Joe Biden has ordered a full assessment of the risks posed by domestic terrorism in the shadow of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The “domestic violent extremism (DVE)” assessment was announced during a Friday press briefing.

New White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said:

 “The January 6th assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we have long known: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat.

The Biden Administration will confront this threat with the necessary resources and resolve.”

The assessment will be conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, led by newly confirmed Avril Haines, working with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, Psaki said at the briefing.

The administration’s focus on DVE is a clear acknowledgment that officials view the domestic unrest plaguing the United States in the past year, culminating in an attack on the United States Capitol on January 6 as a growing and concerning threat.

The review and plan put forth by the administration involves the Director of National Intelligence, which was created following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to prevent international terrorism. This pivots the attention of the government agency from external to internal terrorism threats.

Psaki said the “key point” being made by the administration is that they want facts to develop policy:

“We want fact-based analysis upon which we can shape policy. So, this is really the first step in the process. We will rely on our appropriate law enforcement and intelligence officials to provide that analysis.”

In addition to the threat assessment, the administration plans to develop its capability within the National Security Council (NSC) to confront the threat of domestic terrorism, including a review of the government’s information-sharing capabilities. Psaki said:

“The NSC will undertake a policy review effort to determine how the government can share information better about this threat, support efforts to prevent radicalization, disrupt violent extremist networks, and more.”

Psaki said she wanted to assure Americans that the administration’s actions would protect citizens’ rights while increasing government capabilities to monitor and counter domestic threats.

“We are committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective analysis, and on our respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.”

“We need to understand better its current extent and where there may be gaps to address so we can determine the best path forward.”

The third step in Biden’s plan involves coordinating relative parts of the federal government to enhance and accelerate efforts to address DVE.

Addressing reporters following the briefing, Psaki said the President wanted to conduct the review and develop the DVE policy as a priority:

“It is a priority (of the administration to insure that we are assessing what is happening in government and if we could do it better. Clearly, more needs to be done. That is why the President is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on his second full day in office.”

The announcement of the review and plan by the Biden administration did not make mention of violent protests and riots in cities across the nation over the summer by left-wing groups including Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

The attack on the Capitol on January 6 resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer. The attack has led to the second impeachment of President Donald Trump and renewed a debate over whether there should be laws created specifically for domestic terrorism.

Thus far, terrorism policy and laws have focused mainly on international terrorism. Discuss and debate about the need for new laws to deal with domestic extremism have been sparked previously by school shootings and homegrown attacks like the one at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people. 

 

 

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