Inauguration day protesters to face felony riot charges

“I have been representing protesters for 13 years now, and I have never seen felony rioting charges in Washington, D.C."


The majority of the 230 people that were arrested on Inauguration Day will be charged with felony rioting, according to federal prosecutors.

Felony riot charges come with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

According to D.C. police chief Peter Newsham, 217 people will be charged with rioting. Some of these people include legal observers and journalists, who had their phones, cameras and other personal belongings confiscated.

Those arrested are protesting in downtown Washington D.C. during President Trump’s swearing in ceremony. In response to the protests riot police, the National Guard and the Department of Homeland security were deployed, heavy surveillance was utilized and law enforcement positioned snipers on rooftops.

Jeffrey Light, a lawyer in Washington, D.C. that has represented protesters previously stated, “I have been representing protesters for 13 years now, and I have never seen felony rioting charges in Washington, D.C. It is not one of the standard laws that they tend to use. This is unusual. It is rare to use that charge.”

Light has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that those arrested were victims of excessive force by law enforcement. Light claims that police used flash grenades and tear gas and were beating people. Many of the injured had to wait to receive treatment while they stood in the street for hours awaiting transfer.

According to Alternet, violence extended beyond the protesters on Inauguration weekend. A mother carrying her toddler and an elder from Standing Rock were both sprayed in the face with pepper spray.

The dramatic response to the protests signifies a dark path for America during the era of Trump.


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Ruth Milka started as an intern for NationofChange in 2015. Known for her thoughtful and thorough approach, Ruth is committed to shedding light on the intersection of environmental issues and their impact on human communities. Her reporting consistently highlights the urgency of environmental challenges while emphasizing the human stories at the heart of these issues. Ruth’s work is driven by a passion for truth and a dedication to informing the public about critical global matters concerning the environment and human rights.