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A Comparison Of The 2017 Inauguration Riot, 2020 George Floyd Riots, And 2021 Capitol Riot


The Federalist: This chart is republished from Real Clear Politics’s live version. The original will be continuously updated, while this one is static. It is the current data as of 6 a.m. ET Sept. 13. For links to sourcing and to see the real-time updated chart, click here.

Real Clear: Many in the political and media establishment consider the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot to be one of America’s darkest episodes. Others say the nationwide protests last summer over George Floyd’s murder were worse.

With polling indicating Americans see two sides to the story – and major media dwelling on only one – RealClearInvestigations has developed the database below allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. Further context can be found here.


= Click for additional information
> = Greater than
= Greater than or equal to
~ = Approximately
= Yes
2021 Capitol Riot 2020 George Floyd Riots 2017 Inauguration Riot
Key Facts & Figures
— Police Officer Fatalities 1
— Police Officers Assaulted/Injured 140 2,037 12
— Non-Officers Who Died Ashli Babbitt, 3 others 6-20+
Arrests >570 16,241 234
Federal Charges
— Assault ≥175 44 101
— Weapons >60 79
Estimated Damage ~$1.5M  $1B-$2B >$100K
Pretrial Detention At least 50 defendants transported to D.C. jail from home states; some reportedly subjected to solitary confinement; alleged abuse by prison guards, including beatings, and denial of routine access to family and attorneys. Many held without bail on misdemeanor charges in separate D.C. lockup designated for Capitol rioters. 50 detained pre-trial; prosecutors appealed judges’ decisions to release from detention in at least 18 cases N/A
Pretrial Detention Duration Dozens held for months or longer Several held for months No reporting indicating lengthy detentions
Case Outcomes Nonviolent offenders without criminal histories given months of jail time; one dropped case. In most of a dozen major jurisdictions, 90%+ of citations/charges dropped, dismissed, or otherwise not filed; D.C. prosecutors dropped most felony rioting charges; feds dismissed or are on track to dismiss charges in majority of Portland, Ore., cases largely stemming from violence around federal buildings. 21 guilty pleas, all other cases (>200) dismissed
Additional Details
Government Classification Domestic Terrorism Riots Riot
Organizations Implicated Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters BLM; antifa; anti-BLM/anti-antifa groups #DisruptJ20 anti-fascist, anti-capitalist umbrella organization
Duration ~5 hours from initial violence to order Weeks ~30 minutes
Scope Single event; single location ~8,700 events, 574 involving violent acts; 140+ cities Single event, multiple locations in one city
Invasions of Public Space
Defacement of Property
Other Incidents
— Explosions
— Shootings by Participants
— Arson
— Looting
— Impeding Traffic
— Vehicular Crimes
Dangerous Weapons Encountered Knives, flag poles, fire extinguishers, baseball bats, tasers, crowbars, tomahawk axes Firearms, incendiary devices including Molotov cocktails, vehicles, rocks, bricks, bottles (frozen water and glass), fireworks including those improvised to explode; poles and bats (metal and wooden), hammers, wood, cinderblocks Hammers, crowbars, poles (metal and wood), wooden sticks, bricks, rocks, pieces of concrete, lighters, flares, firecrackers, other explosive devices
Violent Protester Tactics Bludgeoning with poles and bats; pushing and trampling; crushing in doorways; spraying of chemical irritants Shooting at officers; throwing Molotov cocktails at officers standing at skirmish lines, or behind officers to trap them between fire and protesters; throwing dangerous objects at officers from elevated positions; using peaceful protesters as human shields; targeting officers’ eyes with lasers; doxing police officers; aggressive tactics to free arrestees from police custody; use of weapons caches and “snack vans” to conceal weapons Mass of several hundred descended on streets in a bloc clad in black with faces covered to avoid identification, armed in some cases with crowbars, hammers to cause mayhem
Damage Description Broken glass, doors; graffiti; varying damage to statues, murals, historic benches, original shutters, primarily from pepper spray accretions and residue from chemical irritants, fire extinguishers Burned buildings and cars, looted stores, smashed storefronts, property destruction, graffiti Smashed windows, fires, damaged vehicles
Investigative/Prosecutorial Rigor Authorities call this one of the largest and most complex investigations in history concerning the most dangerous threat to democracy. They collected >200,000 tips, >15,000 hours of footage, >80,000 reports related to interviews of suspects and witnesses and other investigative steps; over 93,000 associated attachments. They reportedly requested, obtained, used private customer data from banks in pursuit of suspects. They also reportedly collected private cellphone data and communications data — including records from members of Congress and staff — in connection with investigation. Justice Dept. designated New York, Portland, Seattle as cities permitting violence and property destruction. Most major city DAs dismissed charges en masse, choosing not to prosecute protest-related cases. One would only pursue cases with multiple charges; some prosecutors refused to charge those arrested for felony crimes committed during protests despite availability of video evidence and confessions. Federal authorities reviewed 650 hours of video from police officer body cameras, cellphones, undercover cops, helicopter cameras; confiscated 188 protester cellphones; sought 1.3 million IP addresses of visitors to website, but when challenged in court, dropped request, ultimately claiming they were solely concerned with “a small and focused group of individuals” who visited site pursuant to “singular focus in this case of investigating the planning, organization, and participation in the January 20, 2017 riot.”
Alleged Investigative/Prosecutorial Abuses Judges and prosecutors have cited defendants’ views regarding elections as indicating their danger. Charging documents frequently cite views on election fraud as suggesting wrongdoing. Judge found one defendant deprived of due process rights over withheld evidence. The federal government has kept from public view >14,000 hours of footage while selectively publishing clips. Other anomalies: “slow-walking” of trials; one court-appointed attorney provided reading lists to defendants to “educate” clients and dissuade them from purportedly wrongheaded views; another court-appointed attorney representing Jacob Chansley, a.k.a. “QAnon Shaman,” disparaged January 6 defendants in a May 2021 interview with Talking Points Memo, stating “A lot of these defendants…they’re all f-cking short-bus people.” At least one judge has questioned whether Justice Dept. is flouting the Constitution’s speedy-trial clause. Claims of unprecedented wave of federal prosecutions against protesters; excessive pretrial detention D.C. ultimately reached $1.6M settlement in two lawsuits alleging riot arrests without cause, unlawful confinement conditions, use of excessive force. Judge found government withheld evidence in certain cases. Prosecution’s legal strategy decried by left as seeking to criminalize many for actions of few, through liberal riot culpability standard; slow-walking of trials.
Fallout Development and initiation of Biden admin countering domestic terror strategy; second impeachment of President Trump and social media banning; numerous congressional probes including January 6 Select Committee likely to span many months; lockdown of Capitol Hill; Capitol Police expansion of operations outside of D.C. Dramatic rise in homicides and aggravated assaults continuing into 2021, corresponding with declining arrest figures in several major cities; major cities facing wave of police retirements, resignations, and hiring issues N/A