One of the underpinnings of America’s justice system is being threatened by uneven tactics used by the Justice Department, according to a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said Friday that a double standard is being applied to those who are facing rioting charges in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion.
He said authorities were far more lenient in charging those connected with riots that took place after the death of George Floyd, according to CNN.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office would have more credibility if it was even-handed in its concern about riots and mobs in the city,” McFadden said at a sentencing hearing for one of the Jan. 6 rioters, the network reported.
McFadden noted that Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a scathing letter last summer to federal officials over their refusal to prosecute cases from the riots.
“[S]ince May 30, the Metropolitan Police Department has submitted 63 affidavits in support of arrest and search warrants directly related to criminal activities conducted under the guise of First Amendment assemblies,” Bowser wrote in the August letter, according to WUSA-TV.
“Twenty-eight of these warrants have been declined, while another 24 are will [sic] pending review by your office. This mirrors a disturbing pattern we have also identified in homicide cases, where our records reveal 18 warrants that are currently pending with your office awaiting action,” she wrote.
During Friday’s sentencing, McFadden scolded defendant Danielle Doyle, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for unlawfully protesting at the Capitol.
“You were acting like those looters and rioters who attacked our city last year,” McFadden said, likening the Capitol incursion to the violent Floyd protests.
“You participated in a shameful event, a national embarrassment that, like last year’s riots, made us feel less safe and less confident that our country could be governed by democratic values and not mob rule,” he said, according to CNN.
Prosecutors wanted Doyle to be sentenced to two months of house arrest. McFadden instead fined her $3,000, with an additional $500 to cover damages to the Capitol.
Doyle entered the Capitol through a broken window and spent 24 minutes inside the building, according to The Associated Press.
She said she never intended to be part of what the protest morphed into.
“I love this country,” she said, according to the AP. “So many people came here to represent things that were important to us but in the blink of an eye, all of those things were overshadowed. For that, I’m sorry, because it overshadowed the things that were good.”
Some have noted that many of those charged for the events of Jan. 6 did not commit serious crimes.
“Many of those charged are people who pushed their way through, were taking selfies and were not causing damage,” sentencing consultant Tess Lopez told The Washington Post in May.
“Defense attorneys are likely to make compelling arguments that a prison sentence isn’t warranted.”