Crime & Justice

Washington DC sues ultra-right groups for assault on Capitol

Washington, Dec 14 (EFE).- District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine on Tuesday announced that the district is suing the ultra-rightist Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol, a violent attack in which five people died and about 140 security agents were set upon by a pro-Donald Trump mob, with many of the officers being injured, some very seriously.

The lawsuit seeks damages from the ultra-rightist groups for the “physical and financial” harm they caused to the District of Columbia, where Washington is located, and which on Jan. 6 was the scene of a massive demonstration that quickly turned into a riot by supporters of then-President Trump, a Republican, culminating in the violent assault on the US Congress.

Racine called the attack “brazen, violent, and deadly” at a press conference where he was accompanied, among others, by the only representative of DC in the House of Representatives, African-American Eleanor Holmes Norton.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in DC.

In addition, the suit compares what occurred on Jan. 6 with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, except that this time, the suit states, it was US citizens who were involved in destroying the freedoms and ideals on which this nation was founded.

The demonstrators broke into the Capitol while a congressional session was under way to confirm the results of the November 2020 presidential election, which current President Joe Biden, a Democrat, won.

Racine said that “Our intent, as we indicated, is to hold these violent mobsters and these violent hate groups accountable and to get every penny of damage that we can.”

“Let me tell you, if it so happens that we bankrupt them, then that’s a good day when hate is dispatched and eliminated,” he added.

The suit states that “Over the course of several weeks, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, their leadership, and certain of their members and affiliates – motivated by a desire to overturn the legal results of the election and initiate a second term of Donald Trump’s presidency – worked together to plot, publicize, recruit for, and finance their planned attack.”

“The result of that planning, the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, was not a protest or a rally. It was a coordinated act of domestic terrorism,” it continues.

Racine said that the suit is based on different local and federal laws, in particular the 1871 US civil rights act, known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.

That law was passed after the Civil War to protect freed slaves from white supremacist violence and harassment, and recently it was cited in the lawsuit against the white nationalists ultimately found to be responsible for the 2017 “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia, a suit in which the jury in November awarded more than $25 million in punitive damages to nine victims, after finding the rightist defendants liable for that amount.

Specifically, Racine said, the defendants in the DC suit allegedly conspired against the District of Columbia and its security officers by planning, promoting and participating in the Capitol attack, causing significant damage to the city and to the officials who “risked their lives” and even died while trying to protect the legislative seat and the lawmakers and staffers inside.

The lawsuit was announced one day after the House of Representatives commission investigating the Capitol assault accused Trump’s cabinet chief, Mark Meadows, of contempt of Congress for not cooperating with the commission’s investigation into the Jan. 6 events.

EFE lb/afs/lll/bp

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