Comments made by U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves on the third anniversary of the January 6 protest seem to indicate that the Department of Justice may soon be arresting people who had peacefully assembled outside the Capitol Building.
“An important note when it comes to our prosecutions about those who remained outside the building. We have used our prosecutorial discretion to primarily focus on those who entered the building or those who engaged in violent or corrupt conduct on Capitol grounds,” Graves said.
“But if a person knowingly entered the restricted area without authorization, they had already committed a federal crime. Make no mistake, thousands of people occupied an area that they were not authorized to be present in in the first place.”
Graves has not indicated what he considers to be the “restricted area.”
DC U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves is making clear that the DOJ is now going to target Americans who were around the Capitol on J6 but did not enter the building pic.twitter.com/bj4i3QfHe9
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) January 6, 2024
More than 1,230 people have been charged for their involvement in the day’s events so far, according to the Associated Press.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, many were charged for allegedly entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds, with nearly 1,000 defendants accused of committing the offense. Some were charged with “assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees” or “corruptly obstructing, influencing or impeding an official proceeding or attempting to do so.”
People took to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to express outrage that Graves’ comments were signaling an expanded dragnet that would see peaceful protesters arrested. Some suggested the potential move would be politically motivated.
“I believe they have been waiting to arrest hundreds if not thousands of peaceful protesters, reporters and journalists ahead of the election to prop up their false J6 narrative,” wrote Owen Shroyer on X.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the Department of Justice and FBI have been marred by accusations of politicization and corruption in recent years.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the stewardship of Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, is broken. The problem lies not with the majority of front-line agents who serve our country, but with the FBI’s politicized bureaucracy,” read a 2022 report drafted by Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, which detailed numerous accusations made by whistleblowers inside the FBI and Department of Justice.
“These are fascist police state thugs we’re up against. They’re morally no better than the gestapo,” posted X user Kyle Becker, who suggested that Graves’ comments were an indication that the Justice Department was trying to criminalize peaceful protest on the Capitol grounds to selectively target political opponents.