Inauguration Day Protestors Indicted on Vandalism Charges

by: Briana Thomas Special to the AFRO
/ (Screengrab from police surveillance video) /
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The Metropolitan Police Department released surveillance video on Feb. 6 of two protestors suspected to be involved in vandalizing and torching a parked limousine in Northwest, D.C. on Inauguration Day.

The limousine parked out front of the Washington Post headquarters in the 1300 block of K Street, NW was lit on fire amid anti-Trump protests on Jan. 20 after a person thew a lit flare through the limo’s broken window, police reported.

Protestors
(Screengrab from police surveillance video)

D.C. police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington Field Division are now searching for the two suspects, who can be seen in the video wearing black masks and clothing, involved in setting the flame to the limo and damaging another nearby vehicles, police said.

The protests grew violent around 10:30 a.m. after an organized group of marchers armed “with crowbars, hammers, and asps(batons)” smashed vehicle and storefront windows, set fires and spray painted property throughout the area of 12th and L Streets, NW, police said.

D.C. police said there were several instances of destruction of property, including the damaging of two police vehicles. Authorities in riot gear used pepper spray and other devices to control and disperse the violent protests.

There were six officers injured during the inauguration chaos and 230 adults arrested and charged with felony rioting, Aquita Brown, a spokesperson for the department, told the AFRO Feb. 6.

“More than 3,000 law enforcement officers participated in the inauguration,” Brown added. She said an additional five juveniles were arrested and charged during the disturbance.

The anti-Trump demonstrations were reportedly pre-organized by anarchist groups.

Businesses located throughout the area of the protests like McDonald’s, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Starbucks were all subject to vandalism caused by demonstrators.

The damages were reported by court filings to be more than $100,000, although a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office Bill Miller told the AFRO Feb. 7 that no person has been charged with destruction of property, yet.

Miller said nine of the 230 cases have been dismissed and 63 defendants have been indicted by a grand jury.

The U.S. attorney’s office would not say why the charges were dropped, “We typically do not comment on charging decisions and have no comment on these dismissals,” Miller wrote in a statement.

Miller said his office his working with D.C. police to continue investigating the cases and reviewing evidence.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz is judging the hearings of those arrested every morning at 11 a.m. at the D.C. Superior Court.

The charge of felony rioting holds a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

A Florida man was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer while armed on Jan. 21, according to police.

Dane Powell, 30, Largo, Fl., who is White, was seen throwing a rock at police officers in the area of 12th Street and K Street, NW on Jan. 20 during the inauguration protests. Police said Powell was able to escape officials on Jan. 20, but was identified and arrested the following day.

Police said the rock hit the helmet of the officer and knocked him unconscious.

Officers said they found Powell in front of the fifth district headquarters and arrested him.

The AFRO could not confirm the races of the 63 indicted, but observed that a small number of Blacks attended the inauguration whether in support or protest of Trump.

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