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500 people have been arrested in Capitol riot cases. There could be hundreds more

·2 min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The US Department of Justice has reached 500 arrests in cases connected to the Capitol riot.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on 24 June that the government has made 500 arrests – including 100 arrests involving the assault of a federal law enforcement officer – in a sprawling investigation spanning misdemeanor charges, felony assault and conspiracy, after a mob breached the US Capitol on 6 January, injured dozens of police officers, and threatened members of Congress during a joint session to certify 2020’s presidential election results.

The Justice Department also announced the first arrest in a case involving an assault against members of the press, after a rioter allegedly assaulted law enforcement and spit at and shoved reporters and camera operators, tackled a cameraman, and then trashed their equipment.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers this month that the cases encompass “one of the most far-reaching and extensive” investigations in the agency’s history.

“We’ve already arrested close to 500, and we have hundreds of investigations that are still ongoing beyond those 500,” he told the House Oversight Committee on 15 June.

The attorney general said the agencies will “continue to follow the facts in this case and charge what the evidence supports to hold all ... perpetrators accountable.”

After Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the lapses in security and intelligence failures surrounding the attack, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday the formation of a select committee.

“It is imperative that we seek the truth as to what happened,” she said.

Congressional probes into the causes and aftermath of the riot – fuelled by the false narrative promoted by Donald Trump and his allies that the election was stolen from him – have been met with widespread Republican resistance and attempts to downplay the events at the Capitol, where at least 140 officers were injured.

Seven people died in connection with the attack, including one officer who died the following night after several strokes. Two officers later died by suicide. One rioter was fatally shot by a US Capitol police officer.

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