Did The Inaugural Riots Go Too Far?

Following the inauguration for our new President Donald Trump, riots took place that resulted in numerous property damages, purposely set open fires, objects being thrown, and six injured police officers. Some examples are (WTOP):

Over 200 people were arrested and charged with felony rioting.

One police officer was struck in the head with a brick by Dane Powell, a 31-year old man from Florida who was later was charged with assault.

A 21-year old college student was arrested for aiming a laser pointer at a police helicopter.

Astonishingly enough even a limousine was set on fire. Seriously… what did that accomplish?

If it wouldn’t have been for the police officers that intervened in the rioting who knows what else could have happened.

Chris Geldart, director of D.C. Homeland Security, had these words to say after the rioting was brought to an end; “I think the swift response of the Metropolitan Police Department kept this from being more of what it was.”

The police officers that took action to bring the riots to an end simply did their jobs. Of course, there were accusations of police using excessive force and making “faulty” arrests for no reason. Police Chief Peter Newsham stated that, “They only used force when necessary to control aggressive crowds. They allowed for peaceful demonstrations throughout the city.”

D.C. Attorney Jason Flores-Williams plans to represent some of the rioters who were arrested. Flores-Williams claims that he does not believe that his defendants should face any legal action. He also said, “I think this country is born of violence.”

Flores-Williams goes on by saying:

“This country commits violence all around the world all the time, so allegedly someone breaks a Starbucks window now they’re facing 10 years … I think the charges are obscene and I think what we need right now is a degree of beautiful trouble and civil disobedience in this country … I don’t believe anybody should face any punishment for what happened on Friday.”

I have to completely disagree with Flores-Williams here. His clients should face punishment or at least fines for the destruction they caused. They need to take responsibility for their actions. However, a 10-year sentence for rioting may be a little too harsh. I don’t see anyone getting put away for 10 years for rioting.

I believe that the only way that violent and disruptive riots like these can be stopped is with a heavy police presence. If the riots get out of control like this one did, I wholeheartedly believe that mass arrests are the only way to send a message to people that their actions are completely unacceptable.

It was to be expected that there would be protesting and rioting, but things escalated way too far. It’s unfair and very inconsiderate to all the storeowners that had their windows smashed and were forced to deal with numerous other property damages. Rioting endangers civilians AND law enforcement by forcing them into action.

Violence is NO way to resolve issues and it is not going to change the outcome of the election. Plain and simple.

Now, I am not against people exercising their right to protest, but when protests turn to rioting people need to be held accountable and be punished by the law. This kind of behavior should absolutely not be tolerated whatsoever. I feel that it is not only immature, but it is also a very selfish way to act.

People need to realize that rioting rarely solves anything. It only causes more harm. If people want their thoughts and opinions to be taken seriously then maybe they should try being more civil and peaceful in their actions. Words can make a lasting, more powerful impact than causing havoc and destruction.

When looking back at previous riots, I’m sure we all remember what happened in Baltimore this past year and the Ferguson riots. The Baltimore riots resulted in 9 million dollars of damage and the Ferguson riots caused about 26 million dollars of damage. This is outrageous. You would have thought that people would have learned from these riots and not act out they way they did in D.C. this past Friday.

Without the police who knows how worse things could have been. I am very thankful for the police and all that they do. They know that they are putting themselves in danger when they are in situations like this. That still doesn’t stop them from doing their jobs and keeping us safe.

-Austin De Tray

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5 thoughts on “Did The Inaugural Riots Go Too Far?

  1. Hi Austin. There were not actually any riots in DC on Friday. There was a fully permitted, nonviolent protest and march during the day. What you are describing was organized, direct action by the blac bloc–an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist group. It is a strategy that they use. Since our blogs are supposed to be about educating the reader on a justice issue, make sure to tie this in somehow.

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  2. Sorry guys, I initially thought that the chaotic action that followed the Inauguration this past Friday was due to rioting. After doing some research on the black bloc I discovered that they use strategizes such as hiding there faces with ski masks, scarfs ,sunglasses etcetera to conceal their identity and it can protect them from paper-spray that is used by authorities.Wikipedia’s website states that, “Tactics of a black bloc primarily include offensive measures such as street fighting, vandalism of private property, rioting, and demonstrating without a permit.” I still feel that the actions that the black bloc took in D.C. went WAY overboard. I found a great article on info shop.org that answers frequently asked questions about black bloc and it talks about the history as well. The link to the website is below.

    http://www.infoshop.org/Blackbloc-Faq

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    1. I think it’s irresponsible to label all the protesters that days as rioters. If this isn’t the case and you weren’t doing that, I must have misread your blog since no background was adequately provided about the situation. You have to keep in mind that the media will spin any story to make it a story. By no means am I condoning aggression towards police or destruction of property; however, I’m sure many of those who were responsible knew the consequences that would come with their actions.
      I also don’t see where you were going with the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson. What should they have learned?
      I agree with you that peaceful protesting has a lasting effect and violence can diminish the overall message. However, it seems that many jump to the conclusion that this turned into a riot fest without providing facts. I’m glad that police officers were there to serve and protect — that’s their job.

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    2. Thanks for adding that info for your reader! Also, I forgot to mention that visually your blog post is great. You highlight and bold for emphasis, and I like that you pull out certain sentences for the reader. Good job!

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