The Capitol Building assault on January 6: A Guide to What We Now Know

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Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

January 6 was witness to fanatic Trump extremists who refused to accept the turnover of power from Trump to Biden and demonstrated their rejection by sieging the Capitol. With the anniversary of the attack happening tomorrow, here are some of the key updates on what happened since then.

Months after federal prosecutors began their investigations, more or less 725 people have been charged due to their participation in the attack. NPR has summarized five cases in point.

First, the alleged rioters came from all over the country and most of their population were relatively young. They came to Washington through all modes of transportation, with some traversing thousands of miles just to participate. The ones currently facing charges come from at least 46 states with California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas making up more than 40% while Nebraska, North Dakota, Vermont, or Wyoming having none so far.

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Second, a quarter of the ones facing charges have been accused of physical violence. The relatively understaffed 140 police officers and even media personnel were injured at the hands of the violent crowds. As more videos of that day are released as official footage, there is no denying the violence that transpired.

Another alarming detail would be that 1 in 5 people of the accused had military/police backgrounds or was currently serving. They come from nearly every branch such as the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Navy, and National Guard. According to a study by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, rioters who had military experience were much more likely to participate in far-right extremist groups than their counterparts. Defense Department spokesperson, John Kirby, called it a wake-up call and highlighted that the prevalence of extremist views among military/police personnel should not be taken lightly.

Next, dozens of the accused are still in jail waiting for their trials. Some of them have been incarcerated for nearly a year. Most of them are awaiting the resolution of their cases from home.

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A number of the accused have repeatedly complained about the unfit conditions of correctional facilities. However, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine commented that these conditions are nothing new. He emphasized that the issue has been widely talked about because the complainants were mostly white and not because no one has spoken out before.

Finally, 74 rioters have had 74 sentences and differed greatly. Some of the considerations were the defendant’s actions, criminal history (if any), and whether they feel regret for their crimes.

About 55% of the defendants haven’t served time but many of them have pleaded guilty to lower-level crimes.

Some lenient sentences included no jail or two months of probation for Sean Carlo Cordon and Danielle Nicole Doyle for breaking into the Capitol from U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, On the other hand, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan handed down the toughest sentence of more than five years of imprisonment to Robert Scott Palmer for assaulting police with a wooden plank and a fire extinguisher.

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