U.S. Attorneys warn of charges against potential violent protesters

By: U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas
| Published 01/13/2021

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HOUSTON, TX -- The U.S. Attorneys representing the four districts in Texas have announced intent to prosecute any crimes committed at the state capitol or otherwise in violation of federal law ahead of upcoming presidential inauguration.

“As I’ve said from the beginning, the rioters at the U.S. Capitol should be arrested, charged and incarcerated,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. “I will continue to work with my D.C. area colleagues proving any assistance for leads that come back to my district. And the four Texas US Attorneys will work together to investigate and prosecute any federal crimes that may occur at the state capitol. We cherish the free expression and ability to assemble, but it must be done peacefully as stated in the Constitution.”

U.S. Attorney Patrick joins his counterparts – U.S. Attorneys Gregg N. Sofer and Stephen J. Cox and Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah of the Western, Eastern and Northern Districts of Texas, respectively – to warn those planning to cross state lines to commit crimes in Texas or at the state capitol.

As the chief law enforcement officers in each of the federal districts, the U.S. Attorneys will be working with federal, state and local law enforcement throughout the state to aggressively identify crimes that violate federal law. The plan is to ensure that anyone who is arrested for committing looting, violence or any other crime related to protests or similar events on or about inauguration day will be processed and held in federal custody pending further criminal proceedings.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) in the District of Columbia (DC) is prosecuting those that have been or will be identified as allegedly committing crimes during the riots at the U.S. Capitol last week. The Texas U.S. Attorneys will also be working with Department of Justice (DOJ) officials and necessary law enforcement in those prosecutions. Any questions regarding those matters should be directed to DOJ Office of Public Affairs or to the USAO in D.C.

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