PHOENIX - A number of Arizonans were arrested in connection with the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6.
The riot, which took place as both chambers of Congress met in a joint session to count electoral votes from November's presidential election, saw rioters storm the Capitol building. Authorities say four people die, three of them from medical emergencies.
The skirmishes between protesters and police came shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his unfounded claims of election fraud at a rally near the White House on Wednesday ahead of Congress' joint session to count the Electoral College votes.
According to DC Police officials, 31-year-old Joshua Knowles and 50-year-old Marsha Murphy were the two Arizonans who were arrested in connection with the riots. Both are accused of curfew violation and unlawful entry.
In all, authorities say 68 people were arrested. 50 of them, including Knowles and Murphy, are from outside Washington, D.C., or the nearby states of Virginia and Maryland. DC investigators have also released photos of "persons of interest" in connection with the riot.
One of the persons of interest being sought by federal authorities is a familiar face in Arizona.
The man, a known Trump supporter, has attended several protests and rallies in Phoenix, such as an event outside the Maricopa County Elections Headquarters on Nov. 6. While several people on social media have identified that man, police officials in DC have not confirmed his identity, nor his arrest.
Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton says those arrested may be accused of a spectrum of offenses, from trespassing to homicide, since people died during the protest.
"If that death took place as a result of action by other individuals in there, that action involved the shooting by police, that could be a very serious charge, including homicide," said Charlton.
A misdemeanor trespassing charge carries a fine, but federal prosecutors say those convicted of more serious charges could face prison.
"They’re going to select the cases that are the most meaningful, and that will have the greatest impact," said Charlton. "Prosecutors are often thinking about how do we deter this kind of conduct in the future, and we want to send a message that this kind of conduct is not acceptable."
In June 2020, President Trump signed an executive order after protestors targeted historic monuments, ordering the Department of Justice to prosecute to the fullest extent. Federal law allows a maximum of 10 years in prison for vandalizing government property.
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