A liberal activist group for Inauguration Day rioters says that police "terrorized" Inauguration Day protesters, who injured half a dozen police officers and destroyed thousands of dollars worth of private property just hours after President Donald Trump was sworn into office on Jan. 20.
Police in Washington, D.C., arrested more than 200 people that day on suspicion of rioting. The group of rioters, which went by the name Disrupt J20, injured more than six police officers and destroyed personal property in downtown D.C., including a stretch limousine that was parked outside the Washington Post newsroom, WUSA-TV reported.
Of the 234 people arrested in the first few hours of Trump's presidency, one has been sentenced to jail, and another 15 have pleaded guilty. The remaining 198 arrested individuals have not had their day in court.
But one liberal activist group is speaking out against the charges, claiming that some who were arrested that day were completely innocent.
Sam Menefee-Libey, who volunteers with the group Dead City Legal Posse, an organization of legal activists and support workers in Washington, D.C., told WUSA, "I don't want this to be something that happens in my city. The fact that protesters could be rounded-up on mass and charged with life-altering felony charges is horrifying."
On its website, the group alleges that rioters were "indiscriminately kettled on a corner in downtown DC." The group further called the more than 200 arrests an "attempt to terrorize, punish, and criminalize activists who engage in protest and direct action." This attempt, the Dead City Legal Posse added, "is unacceptable and unconstitutional."
"We will not let our civil rights disappear without a fight," the group said on its website.
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, however, maintained in a statement provided to WUSA that the arrests were warranted.
"During the 58th Presidential Inauguration, there were thousands of individuals who exercised their constitutional right to peacefully assemble and speak out for their cause. Unfortunately, there was another group of individuals who chose to engage in criminal acts, destroying property and hurling projectiles, injuring at least six officers," a Metropolitan Police Department spokesman said.
"These individuals ultimately arrested for their criminal actions, and the bulk of them are pending prosecution after being indicted by a grand jury," the spokesman said. He said that "all instances of use of force by officers and allegations of misconduct will be fully investigated."