Punishment for protesters on opposing sides of political barricades has been wildly disproportionate
It is becoming increasingly obvious that there are two systems of justice at play in the United States – one for Republicans and the other for Democrats. But how long will the American people tolerate such glaring hypocrisy in their courts?
Between May 2020 and January 6, 2021, the United States experienced two tumultuous events – one at the hands of liberals, the other of conservatives – that resulted in many millions of dollars in property destruction, as well as injuries and loss of life. Yet just one side in those battles suffered severe legal consequences for its actions.
During the Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots that swept the US in the summer of 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd, protesters went on a rampage and stormed various government buildings in Portland, Oregon. One of the attackers, Kevin Benjamin Weier, 35, was arrested for setting fire to the federal courthouse. Many (right-wing) commentators have described that willful destruction of government property, and the assorted acts of violence by other protesters, as seditious acts against the US government.
For over 100 days the protesters kept Portland residents under a state of siege, as Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler seemed unwilling or unable to halt the violence. That should come as no surprise considering that the Portland City Council slashed millions from the police budget, and even ordered the police to stop using tear gas in a futile attempt to appease the mob (Note to Portland: it’s impossible to appease a mob). Finally, President Donald Trump shocked liberal sensitivities by sending in federal agents to help restore order and arrest the perpetrators.
So what happened to Antifa member Kevin Benjamin Weier and his motley crew of anarchists? While many protesters around the country had their prison bail paid by Hollywood celebrities, Mr. Weier, whose felony charge made him eligible for 10 years in the slammer, together with a hefty $250,000 fine, was ultimately sentenced to two years’ probation and a $200 fine. In other words, about the same slap on the wrist that a Los Angeles shoplifter could expect to receive.
Just six months after the BLM/Antifa protests had subsided, the American people were treated to yet another historic display of pent-up passions as thousands of disaffected Trump supporters descended upon the Capitol Building in Washington, DC to express their outrage over an election they believed had been stolen.
While there were many scenes of chaos and pandemonium, with rioters breaching the entrance and carrying out acts of vandalism and looting, everything was not quite as it had seemed. Two years after the storming of the Capitol Building, 40,000 hours of surveillance videotape from that day were finally released, and the images show that the establishment media had been cherry-picking the worst scenes for public consumption.
“Taken as a whole, the video record does not support the claim that January 6th was an insurrection,” remarked Tucker Carlson, the first journalist to expose the tapes in their entirety. “In fact, it demolishes the claim.”
Although there was undoubtedly a group of hooligans among the thousands of January 6th protesters responsible for wreaking a lot of havoc, the overwhelming majority of the participants “were not insurrectionists,” Carlson continued. “They were orderly and meek. They were sightseers.” Such a conclusion will be very difficult for most people to believe, but that’s only because the media continually broadcasted the most damning images from the Capitol Building, reinforcing the narrative of seditious rioters. Now compare that harsh ‘made for television’ portrayal of January 6 with CNN’s “Fiery But Mostly Peaceful Protests” style of reporting it used to downplay the severity of the George Floyd protests.
And while the Democrats and aligned media continue to sell the January 6 riot as a violent right-wing insurgency, as they pursue their primary goal of putting ‘dictator’ Donald Trump behind bars, the only person to suffer a violent death on January 6 was a protester named Ashli Babbitt, a 36-year-old military veteran. A Capitol Police officer shot her in the neck, with a later explanation by the department stating that he had “potentially saved Members [of Congress] and staff from serious injury and possible death.”
All things considered, the damage done by left-wing protesters during the George Floyd protests were far worse than the crimes committed by the Trump supporters on Capitol Hill. That becomes more evident when it is considered that acts of arson, vandalism, and looting that occurred between May 26 and June 8 caused approximately $1-2 billion in damages nationally, the highest recorded amount from civil disorder in US history. Meanwhile, the monetary damage caused by the Capitol Building protesters was just over $2.7 million. Meanwhile, as we have already discussed, there have been no serious criminal charges filed against the members of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, which brings us to the most hypocritical part of this story.
This week, Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of the far-right organization Proud Boys, who wasn’t even in Washington, D.C. on January 6, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for plotting to keep Trump in power by force after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the similar-minded group the Oath Keepers, and one-time Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean, were both handed 18-year sentences.
The three men were found guilty of breaking the seditious conspiracy law, which was enacted after the Civil War to arrest Southerners who continued to take up arms against the US government. In order for prosecutors to win a seditious conspiracy case, they must prove that two or more people conspired to “overthrow, put down or to destroy by force” the US government, or that they plotted to use force to challenge government authority. Although the case has already been settled, the jury is still out for many political pundits who, pointing to the January 6 surveillance videos, argue that the case for violent insurrection is weak at best.
Now, with former President Donald Trump heading for court on March 4, 2024, just eight months before the presidential election, America is looking more like a bona-fide banana republic than ever before.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.