The inaugural festivities last January didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The push-back from the protestors was expected and the riots were modest. Yet there were some exceptions, and the first of the convictions is in. A Florida man has pleaded guilty to felony rioting and assault for his role in the chaos.
Dane Powell, 31, is from Tampa. He is the first of 212 protestors accused of the rioting and vandalism that occurred on January 20th. Powell’s sentencing hearing will be held on July 7th. He’s facing a maximum of six years for breaking windows and throwing bricks at law enforcement officers.
The Washington Times (WT) is reporting that Powell was part of a “mob of masked black bloc protesters who moved en masse across 16 blocks in about 30 minutes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
The black bloc is often seen as a group, even though there’s little unity behind the anarchists. They’re typically dressed in black and engage in more destructive forms of rioting. They wear black and hide their identities, which gives large groups of them an oddly uniformed appearance. The group at the inauguration threw bricks and concrete. They bashed windows and property with crowbars.
When Federal prosecutors released the indictment of these protestors, many were outraged.
“The prosecutor is using the threat of years in prison to obtain convictions before she has even bothered to make a case against anyone,” said Olivia Alsip. WT reports that Alsip was offered a deal to turn against the other protestors, which she turned down. “Many defendants, like myself, believe these cases to be politically motivated and want to take these ridiculous charges to trial.”
Politically motivated. U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Bill Miller offered the following motivations for the prosecutions of 212 of the accused: one count of inciting or urging to riot; one count of engaging in rioting; one count of conspiracy to riot, and five counts of destruction of property.
The defense is being spearheaded by Defend J20 Resistance. They contend that the violence was justified, becasue their clients were “violently attacked on Jan. 20 by police using chemical and projectile weapons.”