Judge Royce Lamberth: “I find that the civil rights of the defendant [Christopher Worrell} have been abridged. I don’t know if it’s because he is a Jan. 6 defendant or not, but I find that this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States … for a civil rights investigation.”
A federal judge has directed the Department of Justice to investigate whether the federal law enforcement is engaged in systemic discrimination – against Jan. 6 defendants, that is.
Last week, D.C. district court judge Royce Lamberth held the warden of the D.C. Jail and the director of the D.C. Department of Corrections in contempt for failing to promptly transmit an inmate’s medical records to the U.S. Marshal’s Service so he could receive necessary medical surgery.
The inmate – Christopher Worrell – is a Jan. 6 defendant, and the jail’s slow walking of his records has delayed his operation for nearly six months.
“It’s clear to me the civil rights of the defendant were violated by the D.C. Department of Corrections,” Lamberth said. “I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6 defendant or not.”
More importantly, the contempt order also directed the Clerk of the D.C. district court to transmit the order to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for the Justice Department to conduct an “appropriate inquiry into potential civil rights violations of January 6 defendants, as exemplified by this case.”
For the reasons stated in open court, it is ADJUDGED that the Warden of the D.C. Jail Wanda Patten and Director of the D.C. Department of Corrections Quincy Booth are in civil contempt of court. The Clerk of the Court is ORDERED to transmit a copy of this order to the Attorney General of the United States for appropriate inquiry into potential civil rights violations of January 6 defendants, as exemplified in this case.
Lamberth’s referral should be read to encompass the whole of federal government’s treatment of Jan. 6 defendants from investigation through sentence. It’s a bombshell.
And there’s every reason why those who value impartial justice should be gravely concerned about how partisan politics has influenced these cases at every step in the process.
Figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reveal that there were 876 reported arsons, 81 burglaries of federally-licensed gun dealers (with an estimated loss of 1,116 firearms) and 76 “explosive incidents” throughout the 2020 riots.
Further, according to the DOJ’s own data, one federal officer was killed, and 147 federal officers and 600 local officers were injured during that unrest. Retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn also was shot and killed in June 2020 while attempting to protect a local pawnshop from suspected looters.
While the unions for the Capitol and Metropolitan Police Departments maintain that approximately 140 police officers were injured during the Jan. 6 chaos, none were killed. (The left’s libel that U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was murdered by protesters that day was exposed as pure agitprop, as I wrote about here.)
While one might think these imbalances would have resulted in more federal resources being devoted to the investigation and prosecution of those who laid siege to cities across the country during 2020 than to those who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6, in fact the opposite is true.
Federal authorities were not evenhanded in how they investigated the different sets of offenders.
Law enforcement has admitted to using geolocation data from defendants’ cell phones at an unprecedented level to track and arrest participants in the Jan. 6 incursion. They also have compelled banks to turn over data for clients who may have used their credit cards to make purchases in the D.C. area on Jan. 6 – possibly in violation of 12 U.S.C. § 3403, which prohibits financial institutions from turning over confidential client records.
Did the feds do the same when investigating crimes those who took over a Seattle police station and the surrounding blocks for nearly a month, creating an “Autonomous Zone” where two people were killed during four separate shootings? How about when anarchists firebombed the federal courthouse in downtown Portland?
These questions are certainly worthy of answers.
So far, 684 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot. According to the DOJ, only 55 people – a paltry 8 percent of those arrested – have been charged with using a weapon or causing injury to an officer. Most people’s offenses sounded only in trespass, vandalism and disorderly conduct.
Yet, in many of these cases, the arrests were conducted in pre-dawn tactical raids by specialized teams in full body armor and equipped with heavy artillery, armored vehicles, battering rams and flash bangs.
Inquiry should be made into the reasonableness these tactics, since the degree of force was wildly disproportionate to the crimes that these individuals are alleged to have committed.
Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI’s former assistant director for counterintelligence, stated in an interview that such tactical arrests on Jan. 6 suspects were justified because of their “potential” membership in extremist groups.
But by that logic, those who participated in the BLM- and antifa-led pillaging in 2020 should have been arrested in SWAT raids, too. But they weren’t.
Of course, Figliuzzi’s explanation is a fig leaf. In a June interview on MSNBC, Figliuzzi – who was at the highest echelon in the FBI – stated that “people in and around the former president” are the “command and control element of a terrorist group” that needs to be “attacked and dismantled.”
WATCH: “Arresting low-level operatives is merely a speed bump not a road block," @FrankFigliuzzi1 says.
"In order to really tackle terrorism … you've got to attack and dismantle the command and control element.”
“That may mean people sitting in Congress right now." pic.twitter.com/Cn6HlTS9Zq
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 8, 2021
Because of statements like this, it’s vital to examine the extent to which people were arrested with an unreasonable degree of force simply because of their political affinities and their support of President Trump.
There likewise has been no equipoise in how the Jan. 6 and BLM rioters have been prosecuted.
In a June 2021 letter, Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Tommy Tuberville questioned why, despite “numerous examples of violence” during the BLM protests, there were “infrequent prosecutions” of those offenders. We’re still waiting to get an answer.
But we know that most of those who were arrested were charged with misdemeanors or less.
If they were charged at all, that is. According to a detailed survey of multiple jurisdictions conducted by the Guardian, at least 90% of state cases arising out of the BLM riots were dropped or dismissed.
And federal cases followed the same trend.
Of 42 arrests made over two days in August 2020 in D.C., Justice declined to prosecute 41 of them, according to D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser.
MPD does their part to protect residents and visitors. We need our prosecutors to do theirs. pic.twitter.com/FU39f9ZA6F
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) August 31, 2020
Meantime, the Justice Department assigned more than 100 federal prosecutors to the Jan. 6 cases, and as I documented here, charged hundreds of them with felony “obstruction,” which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Several of the Jan. 6 defendants also have been denied bail and placed in 23-hour-a-day isolation.
The same treatment was not given to the most serious BLM-riot offenders. For instance, two New York attorneys – Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman – who threw Molotov cocktails at the NYPD during a BLM riot in Brooklyn during the summer of 2020 were both granted bail release.
Finally, the sentences that federal prosecutors have recommended for Jan. 6 offenders have been far steeper than those they sought for participants in the BLM riots.
Of the few BLM cases that were federally prosecuted, the defendants in several of them were granted “deferred resolution agreements,” which results in the dismissal of the charges against them, and leaves them with a clean criminal record.
The same can hardly be said for the Jan. 6 defendants, most of whom have been sentenced to imprisonment at the recommendation of federal prosecutors.
At a recent sentencing hearing for one of the Capitol rioters, Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee who sits on the D.C. bench, recognized this variance and slammed the Justice Department for treating Jan. 6 defendants more harshly than BLM rioters.
Until last week, Judge McFadden was the only judge with the moxie to highlight this disparity.
Most others, like Clinton-appointee district court Judge Emmet Sullivan, have been content to look the other way and to accuse those who participated in the events of Jan. 6 of being “terrorists.”
But now that Judge Lamberth has spoken up, McFadden is no longer a lone voice in the wilderness.
It’s heartening that some judges are finally spotlighting the asymmetry in how federal law enforcement has treated the two sets of offenders.
But that only goes so far if Garland, who is charged with supervising the prosecution of the Jan. 6 defendants, is determined to memory hole Judge Lamberth’s investigation referral, narrowly interpret it or order a whitewash.
And that’s undoubtedly what will happen if Garland is left to his own devices. His DOJ routinely uses its vast federal law enforcement powers to wage partisan political battles on behalf of its Democratic puppet masters – for example, suing Georgia because of its election integrity law, challenging Texas’ Heartbeat Act, and threatening to sic the FBI on PTA moms who speak out against critical race theory and progressive indoctrination at local school board meetings – and there’s no reason to think it will act differently here.
Given the DOJ’s conflict of interest in policing itself and its possible violation of criminal civil rights statutes in its unequal treatment of Jan. 6 defendants, a special counsel must be appointed to perform this critical investigation.
Until that happens, we might as well get the Department of Justice a new name.DONATE
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