What Are Your Rights? Legal Recourse From the Capitol Breach
Recorded on January 13, 2021.
On January 6, protesters marched on the Capitol in Washington, pushing past police, entering the building as legislators debated electoral college votes. The breach resulted in property damage and several deaths. Using photographs and video to identify individuals involved, law enforcement officers have since made dozens of arrests. Managing partner Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti is on CBS6 to help explain what type of legal ramifications participants might face.
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Man: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Interviewer: Last Wednesday, protesters marched on the Capitol in Washington, pushing past police, entering the build as legislators debated electoral college votes. Using photographs and video to identify individuals involved in the arrest, law enforcement officers have since made dozens of arrests. Here to help discuss the potential legal consequences for those present at the Capitol that day is managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
First question here, so most individuals directly involved in this wing of the Capitol and the damage to life and property then ensued, what type of legal ramifications might they face?
Paul: So it’s gonna be a whole cadre of potential charges, right? We’re gonna see things from as simple as disorderly conduct all the way through to illegally entering a federal building, assaulting a federal law enforcement officer, and some people had guns and those charges obviously would be very serious. So depending on what you did will really dictate what happens with these charges that will follow.
Interviewer: So what about those that were present, who entered the Capitol but didn’t destroy anything or assaulting any one, could they still face criminal charges?
Paul: Yeah, they will face criminal charges. I mean, you enter into a building through a window, you didn’t just aimlessly wander into an open door, you know that what you’re doing is wrong, and so there are charges that will follow. It depends on what the prosecutors do here. You know, they could pursue those folks aggressively or not. Again, folks who came in and came out and didn’t do or touch anything. We’re just gonna have to wait and see.
Interviewer: So those people who were present, but either weren’t arrested or were detained, but have not been charged might they face some repercussions, like being fired from their job?
Paul: So we’re seeing this all over the country that everyone’s identifying, “Who in my community went to that protest.” Now again, it’s okay to go to the protest, it’s just not okay to storm and enter the Capitol. So New York State has this rule, which isn’t a great rule, people don’t love this rule, I guess, depending on which side you’re on, but you can be fired for anything.
You can be fired for going to a protest, you can be fired for not going to a protest, you can be fired because they don’t like your shoes that day, that literally is something you can be fired for in New York. You just can’t be fired for what they call the big four, for your race, for your age, for your gender, or your religious beliefs.
Interviewer: Paul, we appreciate your time. And if you’d like more information, just head to our website cbs6albany.com.