Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley demanded this week that the Department of Justice “treat all forms of domestic extremism equally.”
In his June 2 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Grassley challenged the approach the DOJ has taken in prosecuting rioters. He pointed out the “leniency” the department has shown in its prosecution of the Portland riots while pursuing the “aggressive” prosecution of the January 6 related crimes at the Capitol.
He mentioned the “enormous and unprecedented” scale of the riots in 2020 noting that in 49 cities, over fourteen thousand people were arrested and many, possibly thousands of police officers were injured. According to a Princeton study, over 500 riots occurred in 2020.
“While the Department of Justice under your leadership spares no effort to prosecute every offense including misdemeanors and trespass if associated with the Capitol breach, which I find no fault with, the same cannot be said of the hundreds of riots that occurred in 2020,” Grassley wrote. “This leniency is distinct from the aggressive prosecution of January 6 related crimes. The law must be applied equally without regard to party, power or privilege.”
In connection to the U.S. Capitol “riot,” there were over 400 suspects, and over 500 subpoenas have been issued. Charges will range from misdemeanors to sedition and may include significant time in prison.
Grassley notes that in Oregon, “of 97 people charged with federal crimes for that assault on our democracy, a staggering 58 will have had or will have their charges dismissed.”
In other words, almost 60 percent of those charged in connection with largely violent riots are expected to be dealt a “get out of jail free” card.
The Department of Justice has requested an additional $1.5 billion, an increase of 12 percent over the prior year to “combat international and domestic terrorism.” Grassley expressed concern that the money will be misallocated based on the Department’s historical bias.
“I can only imagine that this money will continue to resource the institutional bias that continues to exist for the Department’s historical areas of expertise, militia extremism and white supremacism,” he wrote.
He requested more information from the Department to explain the disparate treatment of the summer riots compared to the January 6 Capitol breach asking for data to show how many individuals were arrested and jailed, released on bail, or offered deferred resolution agreements. Based on the statistics cited in his letter, this additional information would likely show a clear contrast between the vicious prosecution of Capitol protesters compared to other 2020 rioters.
Grassley has made a point to continue to press this important issue of the obvious disparities in the treatment of Capitol rioters compared to violent Antifa rioters.
In January, just after Biden’s inauguration, he spoke out on Twitter about Biden’s silence on two days of riots in Portland and Seattle that targeted government buildings as well as one belonging to the Oregon Democratic Party. Protesters vandalized property, smashed windows and more than a dozen people were arrested.
I’m waiting for Pres Biden to condemn violence/looting/arson last two days in Oregon & Washington state
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) January 22, 2021
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