The American government is concerned by a likely spike in violence across the country.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is concerned: the internet is filled with calls to seek justice through violent means, the goal: to return Donald Trump to office in the wake of an allegedly stolen 2020 presidential election. Conversation about this subject have pervaded closed groups on social media, but conversations are taking place in the open. Although there is no information about any specific plans by radical supporters of the former president, the government is warning that events which threaten the country’s safety could occur in August. These warnings are especially pertinent as those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 are being prosecuted.
Homeland Security Department experts say that some conspiracy theories concerning the restoration of Trump’s presidency include calls to violence if peaceful means are not enough to achieve results, according to documents obtained by ABC News. The documents reported that, “The conversations surrounding these conspiracy theories have become more conspicuous over the past few days. Previously, such topics were discussed only on extremist and conspiracy forums, but now they are accessible to the wider Internet and media public.”
However, there is no evidence that anyone is preparing to take specific actions, experts from the Department of Homeland Security state. “Because such discourse is becoming more noticeable, we are concerned by the increasing calls to violence. Several events could occur in August of 2021, but there is no information about specific plans as yet,” states a notice that was sent to state and county workers.
The report emphasizes that an absence of concrete evidence of upcoming plans does not make the situation any less dangerous because calls to violence can spread extremely quickly through both public and private channels. Furthermore, individuals and groups are capable of acting without any prior plans. An anonymous source from the Department of Homeland Security explained that the government does not want to exaggerate the risk, however, law enforcement needs to be aware of even the smallest threats.
Seven months have passed since the storming of the Capitol, an event carried out by people angered with what they perceived as the unfairness of the 2020 election. According to data from the Department of Justice, 570 people (with a mean age of 41) from 46 states have been arrested in connection with the incident. Some 200 have been charged, and 33 have pleaded guilty. However, only eight of these people have acknowledged the severity of their crime; 25 individuals have declared that their actions amounted to a misdemeanor. It is important to note that of those arrested, 15 previously served as police officers and 61 served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The charges vary. There are 495 counts of trespassing, 295 defendants were charged with impeding an official proceeding. Of those arrested, 170 have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement (including 50 who were charged with using a weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer). Six people have been charged with either assaulting a member of the media or destroying equipment. Other charges include the destruction or theft of government property and entering the Capitol with a dangerous weapon. Forty defendants have been charged with conspiracy, charges which allege that the accused planned and prepared for the insurrection.
One of the defendants received an eight-month prison sentence, while five others received lighter sentences. Two were sentenced for time already served in prison and another two were sentenced to home confinement. The fifth defendant, Anne Morgan-Lloyd, was sentenced to three years of probation. (This sentence means she will be monitored but not serve any time in prison.) According to data from the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security is still searching for 300 suspects, 200 of whom assaulted law enforcement officers. A total of 900 search warrants have been issued, 15,000 hours of body camera and surveillance camera footage have been viewed and 1,600 electronic devices have been confiscated.
*Editor’s note: Although accurately reported, this quoted material could not be independently verified.