Hundreds of pro-Trump rioters turned domestic terrorists illegally broke into the US Capitol Building on Wednesday afternoon as Congress was in the midst of the now-halted Electoral College vote count.
“Take the building! Stop the steal!” The Trump supporters chanted as they breached a barricade on the west side of the Capitol building just before busting windows out and breaking down doors to trespass the federal property.
Capitol Police ordered lawmakers to lock themselves in their offices while the two House office buildings were evacuated.
According to the Associated Press, one person was shot and taken to the hospital.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a 6 p.m. curfew citywide.
The Pentagon said the Washington, D.C., National Guard has been mobilized to support local law enforcement.
With a delayed response from local law enforcement, there seemed to be a limited number of rioters arrested leaving many to wonder if they will even be charged for their felonious actions.
What potential federal charges could demonstrators who stormed U.S. Capitol face?
Demonstrators who stormed the U.S. Capitol amid pro-Trump protests could face potential legal exposure to federal crimes.
Here is an explainer of possible charges:
- Trespassing: A federal petty misdemeanor that applies to persons who enter or remain in any building they are not licensed to enter.
- Entering a restricted government building: This misdemeanor applies to anyone who knowingly enters a restricted government building or engages in disorderly conduct near a restricted government building that impedes government business.
- Entering a restricted government building with a weapon or causing injury: This is a felony that applies to persons who violate the above misdemeanor and do so either with a firearm or deadly weapon or with further actions that result in serious bodily injury.
- Physical damage to government property: a misdemeanor if someone damages government property up to $1,000 and a felony for over $1,000.
Misdemeanors carry fines and up to a year in prison. The felony counts listed carry a maximum prison term of 10 years.