Here’s Why Most Arrested Rioters Will Not Be Prosecuted

Perhaps you’ve heard about charges being dropped against most of last summer’s George Floyd protestors. Prosecutors from Oregon to New York have chosen not to pursue a host of different charges against those arrested after peaceful protests turned into destructive riots.

Outrageous, you might think. If someone commits the crime of looting, arson, property damage or physical assault they should do the time. What is wrong with these prosecutors!?

Well, it’s more complicated than that.

George Floyd Riots Hit Minneapolis – Flickr photo

First, the latest non-prosecution news. In New York City – specifically, in Manhattan and the Bronx – police made hundreds of arrests during demonstrations last June. Officers then worked with prosecutors to build cases. But elected District Attorneys make the final decisions on who actually gets prosecuted.

The New York results? Of the 485 arrests made in Manhattan last year 222 were simply dismissed, more may follow. In the Bronx, a full 60% of cases were dropped. Many of those who did go to court found their charges reduced to simple trespass, which carries no jail time.

Jessica Betancourt, the proprietor of an optical store badly damaged by looters says, “The system has failed us.” She added that “there was no effort made by the city” to come to her store to gather fingerprints or see her surveillance video to help identify the guilty. It makes you wonder how hard police and prosecutors really worked to make criminal charges stick.

The same seemingly lackadaisical prosecution tactics have been exposed in other parts of the country. In Philadelphia and Dallas the number of abandoned cases reached 95%. Similar dismissal rates were found in Houston, Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Precise numbers in other beleaguered cities are hard to come by.

Protests Turned Violent on Broadway in New York City – wiki commons

But here’s the deal. In the heat of the moment police were instructed to round up groups of disruptive protestors to try to control the violence. You’ve likely seen the videos of mobs of masked and unmasked marauders smashing windows, stealing goods, setting fires and outnumbered police trying to quell the disturbance.

To build a successful case prosecutors must prove which specific defendant committed which specific crime. Add in the fact that most of the lawlessness occurred under cover of darkness and that makes video identification of suspects even more difficult. While some of those arrested might have been caught with merchandise in their hands, others might have just been passively standing nearby and got caught up in the process. See the problems?

Yes, crimes should have consequences, and like a bad child, those who act criminally must be punished. Otherwise, the message to the public is that it’s okay to repeat the bad behavior. But to expect prosecutors to try cases they don’t believe they can win – at a time when every DA’s office in America is facing a massive pandemic backlog of felony cases – well, it’s a quandary, isn’t it? Which type case should prosecutors focus upon –felonies that have lingered since before Covid-19 struck or these newer cases involving rioters? Please, don’t say they should prosecute “both” because there’s no state with enough money or manpower to do that.

DOJ Drops Most Protestor’s Cases

Additionally, there is a corresponding development on the federal level. Remember when President Trump sent federal law enforcement officers to several cities to help address violent riots? Arrests were made.

A follow up in just one city – Portland, the scene of more than 100 nights of protests – reveals the new administration’s Justice Department has dropped nearly half of the 96 cases. Protestors like Charles Comfort and David Bouchard, both charged with seriously assaulting officers, walked free. Despite all the federal prosecutors out there I could only find one person in Portland prosecuted by the feds. Edward Schnizing was dumb enough to get caught on video setting fire to the Justice Center and did so while shirtless and displaying his name tattooed on his back.

Perspective is needed. The feds drop cases against so-called civil rights protestors at the same time they are vigorously pursuing those arrested on January 6th in and around the U.S. Capitol building.
It could, of course, be argued that breaking into and defacing the symbolic home of our republic, is a more serious offense. But does it sort of smell of politics to you? Equal treatment under the law should be the standard.



  1. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Kevin McKeown writes:

    Your op ed is right on, but I have to add this. Ever wonder why Joe Biden and Hunter Biden are not being pursued either by the media, or investigators? And why NY Luv-gov Cuomo is skating? And that Trump is vigorously hounded and charged?
    Message to Republicans: start winning a God dammed (sorry) election or two. Here in Bernalillo county, New Mexico, Republican candidates have zero chance of winning an election.
    Here in New Mexico, a beautiful obelisk in Santa Fe was torn down while the police watched, as the pathetically liberal, progressive, milk toast Mayor Webber stood by and watched. There was plenty of video, and social media uploads fingering the perps. They’re all getting off.
    Otherwise, those who smash windows, riot, rob and steal from businesses, burn cars, attack police, shut down roads, will be running the country, and taking away YOUR home and bank accounts, guns, freedoms, liberties. Because this is what AMERICANS want to do. This is what the people of this nation want.
    Bank on it.

    Kevin McKeown

  2. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Mary Smith

    In the ABQ Journal today, I love your last paragraph concerning rioters. Just letting you know.

    Mary K Smith

  3. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Varangikov writes:

    “Sort of political?”
    No, that is totally political.
    The capitol is no less hallowed than a merchants private property.

  4. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

    James Rimpau writes:

    With that logic, why are all these people from January 6th still in jail and the FBI and DOJ are prosecuting hundreds of them.
    I know, they are Trump supporters and it’s about political prosecution.

  5. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:02 am

    Kehstrol writes:

    It seems then that….drumroll please…the police need more funding to be able to pursue all these cases. Letting these people go, some of which were probably not innocent, only emboldens them.

  6. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:03 am

    RP C writes:

    It’s not about money but an agenda.

  7. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:03 am

    Larry99 FV writes:

    It’s politics.
    BLM/Antifa leftist supporting rioters and killers get a pass.
    Jan 6 rioters get solitary confinement forever.

  8. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Gus Roberts writes:

    Yet the folks at the capital are still in solitary confinement. We live in a lawless state,

  9. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:07 am

    Jose Romero

    When people cannot find justice within the justice system, they seek justice in other ways. And that is what scares me.

  10. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:08 am


    Well, the problem is “elected district attorneys”.
    If they want to be re-elected (they surely do) then they will use the “democratic” method.
    In a democracy, if 60% of the voting citizens want to burn, loot, and destroy the property and livelihood of the other 40% then the prosecutors are not going to commit political suicide by prosecuting any of that 60%, except perhaps a 1% token prosecution to make the 40% continue to vote for them even after letting the scum destroy everything the 40% had.
    We live in a Constitutional Republic, so the rights of the 40% do matter, but without federal prosecutors taking action to protect the 40%’s rights (the current DOJ doesn’t care about your rights if you are white or Jewish though) nothing serious will happen to the perpetrators.
    So there we are.
    They ARE quick to pounce on the 40% if they attempt to defend their own rights though… . . It’s all about appeasing their voter base.
    This system is totally broken, and leftist democrats in political office are a major part of the problem.
    No integrity, no honesty, no regard for the Constitution.

  11. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:13 am

    Konnichiwa writes:

    The legal system is broken and corrupt

  12. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:14 am

    RP C writes:

    Yes, many of those responsible for enforcing and upholding the law at all levels are to blame.
    Kenneth Roberts writes:
    The crooks are in charge, is why these ass hats are getting away with it.

  13. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Mac writes;

    You Diane are a shill and a HACK making excuses for criminals and partisan prosecution posing as a conservative. Are you from orange county by chance?

    • Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:15 am

      DD replies:

      Hey, Mac, don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just here to tell you what’s happening out there in the world of crime and justice. Funny how some readers read a column with the preconceived notion to be angry!

      And no, I live no where near Orange County.

  14. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Kirk Jung writes:

    Allow store owners to defend their property.

  15. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Bonnie writes:

    Not complicated at all! If you’re stupid enough to be hanging around with lawbreakers, you run the risk of being tarred with the same feather. Arrest and charge ALL of them!
    Crime would decrease VERY quickly!

  16. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Cbradsmith writes:

    Just more bullshit excuses to cover the corrupt left…period.

  17. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    President Orange Man Bad (Rheeeees Be Upon Him) writes:

    Lawless democrats + spineless republicans = today’s USA.

  18. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Merriam writes:

    They should arrest the Mayors, Judges and Police Chiefs of these cities then. They were negligent in their duty and should be considered as enablers for what any damage, injuries or death that happened. Our country is worth saving but for that to happen we need to make our politicians, judicial systems and police responsible.

  19. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Old Boy Scout writes:

    Equal treatment under the law is the standard. The DOJ is failing to uphold it.
    One Nation, under God. With liberty and justice for all.

  20. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    John Rosa writes:

    However, those passively standing around with no evidence of violence on Jan 6 in DC were searched down, via facial recognition software and located as far away as Alaska and arrested and charged.
    Do you see any bias in these prosecutive decisions?

  21. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    Sobeit003 writes:

    Because real protestors carry signs, not rocks, bottles, nor do they light fires.

  22. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    M writes:

    Our justice system has been reduced to leftist mob rule and we are no longer a civil society when the law is not applied equally to ALL of it’s citizens.
    I hope every republican who voted for biden is happy with the results, but don’t get too complacent because they will eventually come after you as well.

  23. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    walt_league writes:

    When good people do nothing, evil abounds.

  24. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    Sglemaster writes:

    Does it SORT OF smell like politics⁉️ There needs to be a different perspective here for sure, lady!

  25. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Bob writes:

    Who wrote this article? I felt like I was reading some foreign, boiler room, click-bait, writer.
    “See the problem here?” Yes I do. Liberal elected officials who are afraid to be LEADERS!

  26. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Gladys C writes:

    Systemic corruption in the legal system. Double standard. Unfair arrests. Why do we need the Judicial Branch then?
    Oh, I see. That’s the plan by the Left. All taxpayers want refund of their paid taxes which are used to pay hefty salaries and benefits in the JB and to EVERYONE working together with the JB. All should be fired!
    For those who had never lived through some -isms countries, try it first before you whine and stupidly complain about this country. Count your blessings! Voters Wake Up!

  27. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Leonardo Gambardella writes:

    There is no problem but that of a demonic rule of illegitimate politicians.
    Why are these democratic
    governors and mayors illegitimate? Because when they took to the offices they hold they swore to protect the innocent citizens of America from foreign and domestic enemies. This surely includes all criminals as well.

  28. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    savagek53 writes:

    Americans have the right to peacefully (and loudly, energetically) protest. Looting, bombing, arson are not peaceful actions and their perpetrators deserve punishment. Period.

  29. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Dianne Butler writes:

    Guess we need some more prosecutors and judges…
    we DO have laws in this country, specifically to protect law abiding, tax paying citizens….

  30. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    heidi.gremillion writes:

    Gotta vote for conservative DAs and not liberal ones. Watch out for who you vote for.

  31. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    TooLateBaby writes:

    The only protesters getting prosecuted are the ones on January 6th who put a little scare into the criminals in Congress.

  32. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    SamHill writes:

    What? Wait! All these “violent protestors” should be sitting in a jail cell, waiting for their day in court; just like the people at the Capitol are having to endure; most of them not even charged yet.

  33. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    Vincent Zhu writes:

    Then why bother to arrest them ? if there is no intention to arrest them, then why deploy police ? then the conclusion would be to defund the police.
    This article is precisely how and why the left wing media mislead the ordinary folks. But we do need to know their tactics from time to time, so I will hold my nose to learn what the new stink is.

  34. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Rkclimber writes:

    But they will track down everyone from Jan 6th at the Capitol won’t they?
    Double standard much?

  35. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    DD replies;

    To be fair the Jan 6th incident happened in broad daylight and there was lots of clear video, evidence the FBI could track down. Not so with the grainy nighttime videos of the riots.

  36. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    SamHill writes;

    Right! FBI looking at videos, scanning SM sites, going thru bank accounts, find anyone and everyone who were in the area, to arrest or harass them. Shoot, FBI traveling all over the US “to get their person”! Reportedly, over 400 individuals!
    No looting happened, nothing was burned down, and the only killing that happened came at the hands of PD themselves!

    • Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:36 pm

      DD replies:

      Some perspective: there was, indeed, damage done to the US Capitol building as the mob broke into the closed building. No they didn’t burn down anything but they clearly were guilty of trespassing into a restricted federal building. I’m not equating that to the multi-millions of damage done in cities across the country by BLM/Antifa members…but you must admit damage was done to The People’s House. Lawlessness is lawlessness, right?

  37. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Beth Nowikowski writes:

    How dare the peasants try to make their voices heard!! We’re supposed to shut up, sit down and do what we’re told.
    Pelosi is just angry that we challenged her “authority”.

  38. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    2X Champ writes:

    Because the Marxist DAs in most of these current dystopias, many of them Soros plants, share sympathies with the riotous thugs.. They are players on the same team looking to destroy the fabric of our Republic.

  39. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Husie writes:

    The premise of this article is, “It is just too hard to prosecute these crimes.” If that is the future our country will surely join the trash bin of failed governments. Law is only upheld when there is the will to do so.
    Welcome to the new Venezuela.
    The Marxists trash another country.

  40. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Des Sturiale writes:

    The NYS courts had limited capacity in-person, 2 weeks paid rotation shifts which started in April 2020 until June. Most court officials were completely off the 2 weeks otherwise worked from home depending on their title. Criminal court specifically only held arraignments all this time. The rocket docket was announced to NYPD and NYSC officials around January. The city & state determined that the courts were already so severely backlogged on DATs that they would just drop them.

  41. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Tim Rooney writes:

    The article was good but I think written too logical. You cannot use logic when it’s all based on emotion. Useless you understand the big picture first, their agenda.
    The violence, looting and arson happened because of Governors, Mayors and Prosecutors were Democrats so it was let go because BLM and Antifa are Marxists just like them.
    They want our Country overthrown, simple!

  42. Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    Steve Gibbons writes:

    Sorry, I absolutely think they should be jailed. Just as the rioters at the capital should be jailed. This behavior should not be allowed to stand no matter who is commiting it in my opinion

    • Diane Dimond on June 28, 2021 at 1:24 pm

      Diane Dimond replies:

      Why are you “sorry” that you want law enforcement to equally apply punishment to lawbreakers? That’s the way it should be! As I wrote: Equality under the law should be standard.

  43. Diane Dimond on July 4, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    Delwyn Groninger writes:

    Re: Comment about rioters not being prosecuted.

    In North Dakota the federal gov. (Bureau of Land Management) failed to also protect a number of laws when protestors tried to stop the completion of the legal Dakota Access Pipeline. North Dakota, at an expense of several million dollars in the end, did arrest those that chose to break state / fed. law during the protest occupation on BLM land as well as stood ground on land to keep protestors out of harms way.

    I didn’t agree with the scope of your article unless urban criminology is culturally handled differently than rural rights and law breaking, such as what happened in my ND example.

    The protestors that were cited or arrested in ND during the course of multiple months of protest were charged and many did have their day in court or before a judge. In summation city and fed. government should look at the state of ND in how we handle civil unrest and civil disobedience. Protestors are prosecuted in ND and it is my belief that those prosecutors you mentioned in your article that have grainy video or limited evidence should have brought the destroyers of property or looters for their day in court instead of turning their cheek. A blind eye to justice serves no one, especially the property owners who were truly the innocent. Thank you for giving me some time to vent. Delwyn G.

  44. Diane Dimond on July 4, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Tom writes:

    If the prosecuting attorneys would make an example of the most egregious and not set the bail so low.
    We ALL know these loser’s bail is being paid by their benefactors.
    So make it cost something.
    Stop rewarding destructive behavior.

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