The Capitol riot of Jan. 6 is still making waves throughout the country. Since then, many protesters have said that they did not expect the protest to become violent. But the pro-Trump rally, which turned violent in an attempt to “Stop the Steal” and prevent President-elect Joe Biden from taking office, has left lawmakers wary. It also left five people, including a Capitol police officer, dead.
In the time between Jan. 6 and Inauguration day on Jan. 20, more than 100 participants face arrests and charges because of the riots. President Trump also faces a second impeachment with just days remaining in the White House. And government officials appear to be bracing themselves for more trouble.
Late Friday, U.S. attorneys who represent four districts in Texas put out a preemptive warning to potential protesters. If any crimes are committed at the state capitol, they said they intend to prosecute the offenders.
“Last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol in D.C. was reprehensible. We will not tolerate that type of behavior from protesters in Austin or anywhere in Texas,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.
Shah made the statement with U.S. Attorneys Ryan K. Patrick, Gregg N. Sofer, and Stephen J. Cox, of the Southern, Western, and Eastern Districts of Texas, respectively.
U.S. attorneys are the chief law enforcement officers in each of the federal districts. They work with federal, state, and local law enforcement throughout the state to identify and prosecute crimes and breaches of federal law.
“The plan is to ensure that anyone who is arrested for committing looting, violence or any other crime related to protests or similar events on or about inauguration day will be processed and held in federal custody pending further criminal proceedings,” U.S. attorneys warn protesters. If anyone plans to cross state lines to commit crimes in Texas or at the state capitol, they can expect to be charged.
In Washington D.C., members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office are also working hard to identify any alleged participants in the crimes committed during the riots. They have already charged some for entering the Capitol or for crimes related to weapons or violence.
Presently, Jenna Ryan, from Frisco, faces one count of disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds. Olympic gold-medal swimmer Klete Keller also faces charge of obstructing law enforcement, violent entry, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Additionally, a former mayoral candidate from Midland, Texas, Jenna Cudd, faces violent entry and disorderly conduct charges as well. She told The Midland Reporter Telegram that, “When [Vice President] Pence betrayed us is when we decided to storm the Capitol.”
“The Department of Justice will always support free speech,” Shah said. “But we will never condone violence and destruction.”