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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/18/21

Jury Way Out on How Tough the Punishment for the Capitol Terrorists

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The instant the first brick was tossed at the Capitol building by the white, pro Trump Capitol terrorists the question was repeatedly asked whether federal prosecutors will really toss the book at them. Oh yes, the prosecutors talk tough, and saber rattle the lawbreakers with promises of FBI knocks on their doors and an array of hard-nosed charges against them.

This looks and sounds good but then there is Jenna Ryan, the Texas realtor who jetted into the Capitol in a private jet, brazenly bragged about storming the Capitol building, replete with Facebook and Instagram poses with the mob. The charge against her: disorderly conduct and unlawful entry.

Then there is the even outrageous case of Richard Barnett, the guy caught in the photo with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi's desk, who carried a stun gun, and stole government property. The hardnosed charges against him: unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. The bail: $5,000 and a house arrest. If that wasn't ridiculous enough, he was described by a federal judge as a hard-working law-abiding citizen. Painting Barnett as a basically good guy was too much for one judge. He revoked his bail, probably sensing a monumental public relations horror.

By now the pattern in charging the Capitol terrorists is clear. For the most part the charges against them are disorderly conduct, unlawful entry, and curfew violations. These are charges that could easily be prosecuted as misdemeanors. Only in a few other cases, have there been tougher add on charges.

The disorderly conduct and unlawful entry charges can hardly be called sending the hard message federal prosecutors solemnly swear to send. Even with promises of more to come, it is still unconvincing.

It is not necessary to cite the toss the book at em', hardline treatment of Black Lives Matter protestors in demonstrations, some of whom faced charges that carried life sentences, to make the obvious point about the blatant racial double standard in their treatment. Just measure the charges federal prosecutors are slapping on the Capitol terrorists against their loud assurances of swift and harsh punishment of them.

Trump set the template last June supposedly for punishment of those who damage federal property and incite mob violence against the feds.

With his usual Trumpian tough talk law and order rhetoric, and much fanfare, he signed an executive order that mandates prison sentences up to ten years on anyone damaging federal property. Trump had only one group in mind when he penned the executive order. That is the Black Lives Matter protesters or as he indelicately put it "agitators who have traveled across State lines to promote their own violent agenda."

Trump's bogus law and order, tough talk, and intent notwithstanding, the harsh punishment law is on the books. It can easily be applied to anyone, not named a Black Lives Matter protester.

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Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and political analyst. He has authored ten books; his articles are published in newspapers and magazines nationally in the United States. Three of his books have been published in other (more...)
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