People For the American Way

Insurrection Accountability Must Include Conspiracy, Sedition Charges

Op-Ed
Insurrection Accountability Must Include Conspiracy, Sedition Charges
Photo: Shutterstock

In the month since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, 235 people have been arrested for taking part in the fatal attack. In addition, investigations at the FBI and Department of Justice are underway. But many rioters walked free that day and have yet to face criminal charges – and many of those who have been charged face minor accusations including disorderly conduct, violent entry and theft of property.

In a January 13 op-ed published in The Hill, People For President Ben Jealous responds to reports of such minor charges to emphasize the racist double standards in policing and argue that equal justice under the law will not be served without criminal charges related to conspiracy and sedition being brought against all parties who incited, acted upon, or enabled the attack.

Jealous wrote:

Watching images of mayhem at the U.S. Capitol took me back to the time years ago when I was a congressional page …

My chair was considered unlucky because my head rested against a filled-in bullet hole in the wall from another violent attack on Congress. The memory of that bullet hole, and the realization that things could have ended far more tragically on Jan. 6, strengthen my belief that planners and perpetrators who committed crimes related to the siege on the Capitol must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law …

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that this rage has erupted in a moment when we are seeing the first Black woman vice president — or the first Black senator from Georgia, whose election flipped the balance of power in Washington …

I am also painfully aware that the white mob that wreaked havoc and death recently has yet to face the punishment faced by the Latinx attackers of decades ago. That is untenable, and our long history of lynchings and other racist violence teaches us that if terrorizing political violence is not punished, it will continue …

So the imperative to hold people accountable must not be brushed aside, nor minimized in favor of some false unity. We can be patient, for a while, while the wheels of justice turn after Jan. 6. But we can’t wait forever.

You can read the op-ed in full here.

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