The individuals who decided to riot during President Donald Trump’s inauguration just received some bad news.
According to The Washington Examiner, a judge refused to drop criminal charges against those who were involved with the violent protests.
Almost 200 people were charged with rioting on the day that President Trump was sworn into office. The defendants were hoping that the charges against them would be dismissed.
The individuals who are being charged have stated that Washington D.C. rioting laws do not apply to suspects who were arrested for engaging in nonviolent protests.
On Thursday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz issued an order to stop motions to dismiss the charges. The defendants are to be tried starting in November. The trial could continue into 2018. The judge heard the defendants arguments in July.
Lawyers representing the defendants argue that the indictment does not identify each individual act of rioting the defendants are alleged to have committed. They state that the suspects were grouped together by the charging documents instead of attributing specific acts to particular defendants. The judge stated that these issues should be dealt with at trial. In a statement, she wrote,
“It is well settled that persons who may intend political protest, but who become violent or who willfully incite violence or other conduct that creates a grave risk of injury to property and persons in the course of the protest, are not shielded from prosecution.”
194 cases are pending, with 19 pleading guilty to the charges. Each defendant is being charged with rioting and destroying property.
When Donald Trump was inaugurated as president on January 20, leftist protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to the new administration. While most of the protesters were nonviolent, many others decided to express their opposition by destroying property and setting fires.
Reuters reported that large groups of activists dressed in black clothes and masks caused mayhem in D.C. by throwing rocks and bottles at police officers in riot gear. The police responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Six officers sustained injuries in altercations with the protesters.
Rioters threw rocks through windows of businesses. They hurled objects through the window of a police van. The activists also set fire to a limousine while shattering windows of a Bank of America and McDonald’s. These actions were by design — both of these enterprises represent American capitalism. In all, 234 individuals were arrested.
The rioting at the inauguration was the first of many acts of political violence that the country has experienced this year. Hard left groups like Antifa and Refuse Fascism have routinely used violence to enforce their political viewpoints.
They have physically assaulted conservatives at pro-Trump events and free speech rallies. While they claim to fight fascism, they are simply using fascist tactics against people who have nothing to do with fascism or white supremacy.
Hopefully, the judge’s ruling will encourage other justice agencies to follow suit. If the defendants are punished for their crimes, it will send a message to others who would use violence to express their political views. This is especially important since members of the hard left are using force to attack the First Amendment rights of people with whom they disagree. Perhaps the threat of jail time will help to limit the amount of violent incidents at political events.