Charges Against 129 Inauguration Day Riot Defendants Dismissed; 59 Remain Charged With Felonies - NBC Southern California
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Charges Against 129 Inauguration Day Riot Defendants Dismissed; 59 Remain Charged With Felonies

Many defendants claimed they were swept up in a mass arrest for no reason

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    Video From Inauguration Day Shows Destruction, Confrontation

    Dramatic video evidence from the first trial of those charged in the Inauguration Day riots shows destruction and confrontations on the streets of downtown Washington. Mark Segraves pored over hours of video. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018)

    The government will dismiss charges against 129 defendants in the Inauguration Day riots case to focus on a group of 59 believed most responsible for the violence and damage.

    More than 200 were arrested and charged with rioting after self-described anti-capitalists broke windows and set fire to a limousine in downtown Washington, D.C.

    According to court documents, organizers of the march encouraged protesters to wear black clothing and used the term "black bloc," which prosecutors say is a tactic when members within a group plan to use violence or destruction.

    Within minutes of leaving the Logan Circle gathering place about 10:20 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2017, members of the march started damaging and destroying public and private property, according to court documents.

    About a half hour later, about 200 people charged a police line set up to contain them at 12th and L streets NW, according to court documents. Some got through, but police contained the rest.

    Many defendants claimed they were swept up in a mass arrest for no reason. Charges against some were dropped.

    The first six defendants to stand trial were found not guilty last month. Prosecutors acknowledged not having any evidence of those six physically contributing to the damage but argued they were responsible for the rioting because they moved through the city with the larger group.

    On Wednesday, federal prosecutors released dramatic video evidence from the first trial.

    Images of officers rounding up dozens of protesters are shown from officers body cameras and the protesters’ viewpoint.

    Cellphone videos show demonstrators smashing out windows of businesses as they marched downtown. Some video shows innocent bystanders ducking for cover in a restaurant as a rioter smashed out the windows.

    The attack on the stretch limo on K Street is seen from several angles, ending with a demonstrator throwing a lit flare into the limo, which burst into flames moments later.

    There also are scenes of protesters spraying graffiti.