Tuesday, October 19, 2021

About a hundred people arrested during Charlottesville riots were arrested under … unrelated laws

In rallies outside the Ronald Reagan Building and the Capitol building, at least two dozen people dressed in white sheets, black T-shirts, or bandanas and chanting “Justice for J6” carried signs with slogans like “Stop the war on juveniles” and “Jail the hate! Not J6.” One said “its about time a white leader ended the school-to-prison pipeline,” referring to the fact that a majority of people arrested in the wake of

the August 11 riot have been Black. But the overwhelming majority of people jailed in the District for their alleged involvement in the riot or questioned by police were arrested on charges that don’t commonly fall under anti-hate crimes laws, but rather in deals with other charges. Police caught 17-year-old Michael Keith McFarland in the Capitol en route to the demonstration. According to a police affidavit in which

officers identified him as McFarland, according to NBC4, he was found to have at least 10 knives in his car, which matches the claim by two other people who said he’d waved two knives at them. Under 19 federal law, McFarland could be charged with possession of a deadly weapon outside a school or military base, a felony. But in Justice For J6’s rally, that fight over anti-hate laws was wonky and academic. Front and

center at the rally was a single young man, the one who was arrested on an assault charge, but otherwise appeared to be a typical high school kid, like the one that caught the hand gestures of President Donald Trump supporters walking past him. He was wearing headphones. He told the police that the drugs that he was carrying, at least according to the affidavit in which he was identified as McFarland, were not for

his personal use, but for an upcoming football game and they were ultimately going to trade for a pair of Beats headphones from Apple that he’d just bought on Amazon. He was asked if he was wearing a bandana to hide his face. He said no. He turned to run and then sprinted away from police, singing and not pausing to tell them how he was injured by another person. He was running past members of Congress. “He was slow

to come back,” one officer told another in the affidavit, “and then after a short amount of time stopped at the end of the street. While he was still running he was tasered and then arrested.” As of Friday evening, he was still in custody at a juvenile detention center. As of 7 p.m., four officers were still recovering, while four others had been taken home for “mandatory rest day.” When the Post reported on the

arrests earlier in the day, three of the four were taken home for rest day. But none of the six officers who weren’t taken home had yet been released. Only three of the officers were returned by Saturday. It’s not known whether the other four officers are still in the hospital. On a Facebook message to reporters, Justice For J6 said that it has organized the rally on behalf of anti-racist activists who are being

detained in District jails. “We are appalled at the way that the police treated our speaker who was arrested,” the message read. But the group went on to blame Mayor Muriel Bowser, who they accuse of breaking city laws by removing protective glass, for not serving up “justice” for the arrests of more than 100 people. The majority of those arrested, they say, were charged with minor offenses. “We will continue to

organize rallies, calling out police brutality, police brutality against the criminal justice system, and fighting for an end to local human rights violations,” Justice For J6 said. “The police have stripped the people’s city of their city, so it is up to the people to be the voice of the city again.”

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