It has now been two years since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 and the FBI is still attempting to track down and arrest individual participants in that event to be prosecuted for their alleged crimes, The Washington Times reported.
In fact, two individuals were just arrested in December in connection with the 2021 incident — one, a New Jersey man named Peter Michael Krill Jr., who filmed a video posted to TikTok of the unrest from atop scaffolding outside the Capitol, and the other a Maryland man named Scott Miller, alleged to be a member of the Proud Boys who purportedly skirmished with police barricading an entrance to the Capitol building.
“Our work is far from over”
Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement Wednesday in advance of the two-year mark of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to both praise the efforts made thus far by the FBI and Justice Department as well as to signal that more arrests and prosecutions were likely forthcoming.
“Two years ago, the United States Capitol was attacked as lawmakers met to affirm the results of a presidential election,” Garland said. “Perpetrators attacked police officers, targeted and assaulted members of the media, and interfered with a fundamental element of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.”
“Since then, countless agents, investigators, prosecutors, analysts, and others across the Justice Department have participated in one of the largest, most complex, and most resource-intensive investigations in our history,” he continued. “I am extremely grateful for the dedication, professionalism, and integrity with which they have done this work.”
The attorney general added, “This investigation has resulted in the arrest of more than 950 defendants for their alleged roles in the attack. We have secured convictions for a wide range of criminal conduct on January 6 as well as in the days and weeks leading up to the attack. Our work is far from over.”
Some felony crimes worth prosecuting, most just minor misdemeanors
That press release from AG Garland went on to provide a sort of breakdown of the more than 950 defendants who have been arrested in all 50 states and face federal criminal charges in connection with the unrest at the Capitol building two years ago.
To be sure, a portion of those arrests are legitimate, as some participants in the unrest did engage in felonious violent acts of assault against police officers and others, for which they should be held accountable.
That said, a substantial majority of those arrested have been hit with heavy-handed prosecutions on misdemeanor charges for minor infractions that typically warrant a mere slap on the wrist, if even that, such as for trespassing on federal grounds or disrupting federal proceedings.
“Yes, there are some people that went to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and did some bad things. There’s no denying it. But that is not the majority,” Cynthia Hughes, founder of the Patriot Freedom Project that assists Jan. 6 defendants, told the Times. “They’re lumping everybody into the same basket and they want to create as much carnage as possible to send a message to Trump. … They’re using all these people to go after one person.”
The disparity in prosecuting similar alleged crimes; inflating numbers to support a narrative
The Times noted that the concerted efforts of the FBI and DOJ to identify, hunt down, arrest, and prosecute individuals allegedly involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has drawn sharp criticism from some over the glaring disparity in how that particular event has been treated in comparison to other events, including leftist protesters disrupting the 2018 Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or the months-long and near-nightly violent attacks on the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon in 2020 by leftist protesters.
The outlet noted that only one of the anti-Kavanaugh protesters was charged with a federal misdemeanor, though more than a thousand others faced local charges in Washington D.C. for their antics. As for the regularly recurring violence in Portland, virtually all of the relatively few who were even arrested received federal plea deals that included dropped charges in exchange for community service.
Furthermore, according to Newsmax, it was alleged in September by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), by way of alleged FBI whistleblowers, that the FBI is “juicing the numbers and cooking the books” with regard to the numbers and severity of Jan. 6 cases and “domestic violent extremism” more broadly to make the issue appear to be bigger than it actually is.
In fact, Jordan has asserted that, according to whistleblowers, the DOJ and FBI have actually pressured and threatened agents to inflate the numbers and have even pulled agents off of far more serious crimes like child sex abuse to instead go after Jan. 6 participants as alleged domestic terrorists to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.