- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2021

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced Tuesday that his office is suing two far-right groups — the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers — for their roles in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Racine said during a news conference that he will be seeking “severe” financial penalties from the groups and dozens of members for planning and carrying out the attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s election.

“These vigilantes, insurrectionists and masters of a lawless mob conspired against the District of Columbia, its law enforcement officers and residents by planning, promoting and participating in the violent attack on the United States Capitol,” he said. 

The civil lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, cites the two groups, 31 alleged members or affiliates, and 50 unnamed defendants. It claims the defendants conspired to incite a riot, interrupt Congress, trespass on federal property and commit acts of violence. 

The 84-page suit includes screenshots of messages between defendants, photos of them at the Capitol and details from other court cases related to Jan. 6. 

“Defendants spread misinformation, fanned the flames of the conspiracy, actively encouraged and participated in the actions that left the Capitol in shambles, threatened a vital component of our democracy, and injured law enforcement,” the suit states.

SEE ALSO: Biden will commemorate Jan. 6 Capitol attack, White House says

The city argues that the defendants should pay for damage to the Capitol, as well as costs linked to dispatching hundreds of local police officers, including their medical treatment and paid leave for those unable to work due to injuries sustained during the riot.

At one point during the attack, nearly 850 Metropolitan Police Department officers were responding to the Capitol, according to the suit.

“While the costs to the District are still being investigated and tallied, the District has preliminarily estimated that MPD incurred millions of dollars in costs during the week of January 6th alone,” the suit states.

The District is seeking punitive, statutory and compensatory damages in amounts to be determined by a federal judge.

The city’s Democratic attorney general likened the Capitol riot to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“It was like 9/11 — a planned terrorist attack — but this time our own citizens were hellbent on destroying the freedoms and ideals on which our country was founded, and continues to aspire to achieve,” Mr. Racine said.

SEE ALSO: Mark Meadows blasts Jan. 6 committee’s contempt vote, says probe is politically driven

The Justice Department has charged more than 700 people so far in connection with the Capitol riot.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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