The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Records rebut claims of unequal treatment of Jan. 6 rioters

- By Alanna Durkin Richer, Michael Kunzelman and Jacques Billeaud

It’s a common refrain from some of those charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and their Republican allies: The Justice Department is treating them harshly because of their political views while those arrested during last year’s protests over racial injustice were given leniency.

Court records tell a different story.

An Associated Press review of documents in more than 300 federal cases stemming from the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last year shows that dozens of people charged have been convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison.

The AP found that more than 120 defendants across the United States have pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial of federal crimes including rioting, arson and conspiracy. More than 70 defendants sentenced so far have gotten an average of about 27 months behind bars. At least 10 received prison terms of five years or more.

The dissonance between the rhetoric of the rioters and their supporters and the record establishe­d by courts highlights both the racial tension inherent in their arguments — the prodonald Trump rioters were largely white and last summer’s protesters were more diverse — and the flawed assessment at the heart of their claims.

“The property damage or accusation­s of arson and looting from last year, those were serious and they were dealt with seriously, but they weren’t an attack on the very core constituti­onal processes that we rely on in a democracy, nor were they an attack on the United States Congress,” said Kent Greenfield, a professor at Boston College Law School.

To be sure, some have received lenient deals.

At least 19 defendants who have been sentenced across the country got no prison time or time served, according to the AP’S review. Many pleaded guilty to lower-level offenses, such as misdemeano­r assault, but some were convicted of more serious

 ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? In this combinatio­n of photos, demonstrat­ors, left, protest June 4, 2020, in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, over the death of George Floyd and on Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump rally at same location. Some charged in the Jan. 6riot at the U.S. Capitol as well as their Republican allies claim the Justice Department is treating them harshly because of their political views. They also say those arrested during last year’s protests over racial injustice were given leniency. Court records tell a different story. An Associated Press review of court documents in more than 300federal cases stemming from the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last year shows that dozens of people charged have been convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison.
ASSOCIATED PRESS In this combinatio­n of photos, demonstrat­ors, left, protest June 4, 2020, in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, over the death of George Floyd and on Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump rally at same location. Some charged in the Jan. 6riot at the U.S. Capitol as well as their Republican allies claim the Justice Department is treating them harshly because of their political views. They also say those arrested during last year’s protests over racial injustice were given leniency. Court records tell a different story. An Associated Press review of court documents in more than 300federal cases stemming from the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last year shows that dozens of people charged have been convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison.
 ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? In this combinatio­n of photos, on June 3, 2020, demonstrat­ors, left, protest the death of George Floyd at the U.S. Capitol in Washington and Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier Jan. 6, 2021, at the same location.
ASSOCIATED PRESS In this combinatio­n of photos, on June 3, 2020, demonstrat­ors, left, protest the death of George Floyd at the U.S. Capitol in Washington and Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier Jan. 6, 2021, at the same location.

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