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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 7, 2017

Florida Man Sentenced to Prison Term For His Role in Inauguration Day Riot

Defendant's Was First Felony Guilty Plea in Ongoing Investigation

            WASHINGTON - Dane Powell, 31, of Tampa, Fla., was sentenced today to four months of incarceration for his role in the violence and destruction that took place in downtown Washington on Inauguration Day, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips.

 

            Powell pled guilty on April 28, 2017, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to charges of felony rioting and felony assault on a police officer. Powell was among 234 people arrested in the aftermath of various incidents on January 20, 2017. He was arrested the following day. Powell was the first defendant to plead guilty to felony charges; 15 others have pled guilty to misdemeanor rioting offenses, and charges against 20 other defendants have been dismissed.

 

            The Honorable Lynn Leibovitz sentenced Powell to a total of 36 months in prison, but suspended all but four months of that time on the condition that he successfully complete two years of supervised probation. In sentencing the defendant, Judge Leibovitz said that she credited his early acceptance of responsibility, but at the same time was compelled to take into account the seriousness of his individual acts and choices during the disturbances. Powell was taken into custody immediately after the hearing today to begin serving his prison sentence.

 

            According to a factual proffer signed by the defendant, on January 20, 2017, Powell joined together with more than 200 other people in and around Logan Circle in Washington, D.C. The group formed a “black bloc” in which individual defendants wore black or dark colored clothing, gloves, scarves, sunglasses, ski masks, gas masks, goggles, helmets, hoodies, and other face-concealing and face-protecting items to conceal their identities in an effort to prevent law enforcement from being able to identify the individual perpetrators of violence or property damage. Some of the members of the black bloc were armed with hammers, crowbars, wooden sticks, and other weapons. Powell was among those dressed in black, and had in his possession a gas mask. Powell also attempted to conceal his face with a mask. In addition, Powell was in possession of a hammer, and a heavy wooden stick with a flag attached to it. As part of the proffer, he admitted being part of a group of rioters who moved approximately 16 blocks over a period of more than 30 minutes. He also admitted that he participated in breaking windows at two businesses and throwing a brick, large rock, or piece of concrete at uniformed law enforcement officers during the riot.

 

            The rioting cases are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer A. Kerkhoff and John W. Borchert.

Press Release Number: 
17-144
Updated July 7, 2017