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Protestors Sentenced For Assaulting USPP Officers

National Mall and Memorial Parks

National Park News

On Monday, November 10th, three people were found guilty in DC Superior Court on a variety of charges stemming from a demonstration last spring and sentenced to incarceration, probation and court costs. On Saturday, April 19th, the Park Police handled a permitted demonstration on the Mall by the National Socialist Movement. The group had secured a special use permit to exercise their First Amendment rights. They planned to assemble on the grounds of the Washington Monument, then march to the Capitol for a rally. Counter-demonstrations were expected and a security plan was developed to minimize the possibility of violence between the permitted group and any counter groups. The Park Police coordinated extensively with the Metropolitan Police and the United States Capitol Police, since the event crossed jurisdictional lines. Prior to the arrival of the main group, a large group of counter-demonstrators arrived on the grounds of the Washington Monument wearing masks and attracting considerable attention. The group spotted two members of the permitted group and began verbally and physically assaulting them. Park Police officers responded to escort the two out of the area, at which point the counter-demonstrators surrounded the officers, then assaulted them with pepper spray. One counter-demonstrator also struck an officer across the back with a pole while he was attempting to arrest another of the counter-demonstrators.  A total of six arrests were made, with charges of assaulting police officers and weapons offenses filed against them.  Convicted were the following three people:

  • Michael Butler was found guilty of two counts of assaulting an officer and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon (pepper spray). He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with all but ten suspended on each charge (concurrent), a total of five years’ supervised probation (consecutive), and court costs.
  • John Rice was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, simple assault and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon (pepper spray). His sentence was identical to Butler’s.
  • Sara Valenzuela was found guilty of assaulting an officer and attempted possession of a prohibited weapons (a piece of wood). She was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with all but 20 suspended, a total of 10 months supervised probation (concurrent), and court costs.



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