Inauguration Day rioter sentenced to 4 months

A parked limousine burns during a demonstration after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington. Protesters registered their rage against the new president Friday in a chaotic confrontation with police who used pepper spray and stun grenades in a melee just blocks from Donald Trump's inaugural parade route. Scores were arrested for trashing property and attacking officers. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WASHINGTON — A man who admitted to participating in violent, destructive riots that broke out in the District during the inauguration of President Donald Trump appeared in D.C. Superior Court Friday and was sentenced to 4 months in jail and 2 years of probation.

Dane Powell pleaded guilty in April to felony charges, including rioting and assaulting a police officer, telling prosecutors that he broke windows and threw “a brick, large rock, or piece of concrete at uniformed law enforcement.”

Powell, who is from Florida, was among more than 200 people arrested and charged in connection with the riots Jan. 20. He was the first to plead guilty to felony charges.

Prosecutors were hoping for a six-month sentence, while the defense wanted only probation.

“He admitted being part of a group of rioters who moved approximately 16 blocks over a period of more than 30 minutes,” said the U.S. attorney’s office for D.C. in a statement.

According to court documents, the group formed around Logan Circle and began a “black bloc” demonstration, in which members wore black clothing, sunglasses, masks, helmets and other items to conceal their identities.

Some were armed with hammers, crowbars and wooden sticks, prosecutors said.

As members of the group began rioting, business windows were smashed, a limousine was set on fire and clashes with police left six officers injured.

The group DefendJ20, which supports those who were arrested, claims most are refusing to accept plea deals.

“More than half of the defendants are mounting a collective defense and have agreed not to cooperate with the prosecution and not to testify against their co-defendants,” the group said in a statement. “Officers indiscriminately attacked hundreds of protesters, journalists, legal observers and bystanders with chemical and projectile weapons.”

Trial dates have been scheduled for dozens of defendants, with the first expected to begin in late November.

Another trial is set for Dec. 11, while the rest will likely happen in the spring and summer of 2018.


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