Alternet -More than 200 people who were mass-arrested at the Washington, D.C. protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump have been hit with felony riot charges that are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Those picked up in the sweep—including legal observers and journalists—had their phones, cameras and other personal belongings confiscated as evidence, a lawyer confirmed to AlterNet.
...Those kettled by police were forced to wait for hours in the street and on school buses, many of them going untreated for injuries, say supporters. “They are trying to set a tone to chill further demos of this nature, and I don’t think it’s going to work,” Bob Hayes, a Washington, D.C. resident who is helping coordinate legal support, told AlterNet. “They are trying to put pressure on individuals to collaborate with the investigations.”
.... Jeffrey Light, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who provided legal
support to the Disrupt J20 Collective, agreed with this assessment. “I
have been representing protesters for 13 years now, and I have never
seen felony rioting charges in Washington, D.C. It is not one of the
standard laws that they tend to use. This is unusual. It is rare to use
.... Acting DC Police Chief Peter Newsham, who oversaw this weekend’s crackdown, was the assistant police chief who presided over another mass arrest more than a decade ago. In the fall of 2002, the Metropolitan police department mass arrested hundreds of people at a World Bank protest in Washington, D.C.’s Pershing Park and hogtied them for up to 24 hours while in detention, before dropping all charges. In a 2015 settlement, the city was forced to pay $2.2 million to nearly 400 protesters. Newsham, who ordered the mass arrests in 2002, oversaw the police crackdown against inauguration protesters.