January 6 investigation leads to hundreds of arrests

After the insurrection at the United States Capitol over a year ago, an investigation into rioters continues.

Cait Bunkers, guest writer

“I thought they were bad… it said a lot about the current state of our country,” said Alexander Winter, a junior.
On January 6, 2021, as legislators were confirming President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election, Trump supporters rallied at the U.S. Capitol in protest. As crowds swelled, Capitol police officers sent evacuation and riot warnings as rioters became violent. Rioters included members of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist organization.
Eventually, as Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi were being evacuated, rioters broke into the capitol building as staff members barricaded themselves inside.
The insurrection ended as Donald Trump released a video telling rioters, “you have to go home now. We have to have peace… we don’t want anybody hurt.”
Four people in the crowd and five capitol police officers died during and in the days following the riot. Two were determined to have died of natural causes.
“The only thing [in United States history] that comes really close to it would be the bonus army that marched on Washington during the Hoover administration,” said Steve Mitten, a history teacher.
The insurrection led to an investigation into rioters and their motives. So far, over 725 people have been arrested for rioting at the capitol.
According to the Washington Post, 701 have been charged with federal crimes. Of those, 367 were charged with at least one felony and 334 with misdemeanors. 174 pleaded guilty and 74 have been sentenced. 31 of the defendants have been sentenced to incarceration.
One member, Matthew Greene, is the first to plead guilty to obstructing Congress and for conspiring to obstruct law enforcement. He was among the first people to rush into the Capitol after the police line was breached.
While he faces up to a 25-year prison sentence, prosecutors plan to recommend a sentence between 41 and 50 months due to his eventual agreement to comply with law enforcement. Greene’s hearing is set for March 10.
Another rioter, Robert Chapman, is also awaiting sentencing with a hearing scheduled for April 4. He confessed to a person on the dating app, Bumble that he was a part of the insurrection, leading that person to inform the FBI. According to TIME Magazine, Chapman pleaded guilty to “parading, demonstrating, or picketing” in a Capitol building and faces up to six months in prison with a maximum fine of $5,000.
“If they were willing to do that, we should be very concerned about what else they are willing to do. For the sake of our security and stability, we should keep an eye on these people,” Winter said.
As trials continue, the rest of the rioters will be given a sentence, with the hope of leaving the insurrection in the past so we can move forward as a country.