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Hundreds Won’t Be Charged In January 6th Insurrection

 

Despite being surrounded by thousands, the US Capitol Police arrested only 14 people on the day of the January 6th insurrection, while the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department arrested only 25 for unlawful entry. Since then, more than 300 people have been charged in federal court, and late last week the Justice Department said it expects to bring cases against “at least” 100 more.

The investigation into the riot is being called one of the largest in American history, but it’s become increasingly clear that many of the estimated 800 people who breached the nation’s Capitol may never face any legal consequences because they were allowed to simply walk away from the scene.

TOPSHOT – Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

The Justice Department could end up charging more people in the coming weeks and months for their actions in storming the Capitol and delaying certification of the Electoral College. But suggesting that nearly 400 people could simply get away with participating in an attempted coup is indicative of the poor decision not to pursue widespread arrests as the riot was taking place.

Since January 6th, FBI agents and officers from more than a dozen federal and local law enforcement agencies have filed some 80,000 reports of witness interviews, reviewed more than 210,000 tips and 15,000 hours of surveillance footage, executed more than 900 search warrants in nearly every state, and extracted data from more than 1,600 phones.

 

Letting rioters go home also gave them an opportunity to obstruct justice. More than three dozen people charged in the investigation had attempted to destroy evidence or scrub their social media profiles, although not always successfully. In court filings in dozens of cases, prosecutors have described efforts by defendants to delete social media accounts, erase or destroy other evidence, hide out with family and friends, intimidate potential witnesses, and, in at least two cases, attempt to flee the country.

 



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