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Prosecutors drop charges against more than 100 inauguration riot defendants

Prosecutors drop charges against more than 100 inauguration riot defendants
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Federal prosecutors are dropping charges against more than 100 people arrested in the Inauguration Day protests.

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia announced Thursday that it would proceed with charges against only 59 defendants.

More than 200 people were arrested during the protests on charges ranging from conspiracy to engage in a riot to destruction of property.

A jury in a D.C. Superior Court last month acquitted six people on all charges, leaving 188 who were scheduled to face trial in small groups throughout this year.

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According to the Notice of Intent to Proceed released Thursday, all charges have been dropped except for those against the 59 people named in the document, which include felony charges.

The protesters were arrested and blamed for more than $100,000 of damage that occurred across D.C. on Inauguration Day. The U.S. Attorney’s office noted charges were specifically against the “unpermitted anti-capitalist march” that made use of a “black-bloc” tactic, in which black-clad participants move as one group engaging in destruction of property.

The document notes that the government is focusing its prosecution efforts on the 59 because they “engaged in identifiable acts of destruction, violence, or other assaultive conduct,” participated in planning the “violence and destruction” or demonstrated that they knowingly participated in the “black-bloc tactic.”