Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said on Friday that he chose to pursue the toughest charges against the rioters because he does not support the lawlessness that has taken place in some parts of the country, including the “police-free” region of Seattle known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protests, or CHOP.
“This is not Seattle,” he told the Oklahoman. “We’re not putting up with this lawlessness here.”
Prater leveled strict charges against many of those who were arrested during the protests. Isael Antonio Ortiz, 21, Eric Christopher Ruffin, 26, and Malachai Davis, 18, were hit with terrorism charges after police alleged that Ortiz burned an Oklahoma County sheriff’s van during protests on May 30.
Ruffin is accused of encouraging “wanton destruction” by streaming Ortiz on a Facebook Live post in which he was also heard saying officers who harm black people should be killed. Ortiz has also been accused of attempting to burn a bail bonds shop along with Davis, who is accused of breaking the bond shop’s windows with brass knuckles he was filmed wearing.
David McKenzie, an attorney for Davis, has called the terrorism charges “unconstitutional.” He said that Davis punched the window but did not break it. He also claimed that Davis, whose father died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, is a good person and not a terrorist.
Deshayla Dixon, 24, Adam Warner Hayhurst, 19, Daniel Ray Dickerson, 27, and James Lovell Holt, 31, were arrested on rioting charges for allegedly carrying out violent acts during the protests. Many of those charged were caught on camera, including Holt, who was filmed throwing rocks at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
Saxon Weber, 26, was charged with assaulting an officer after he allegedly shoved an officer who was attempting to arrest another protester. Police reports from the scene claimed that Weber was armed with a pistol and wearing a bullet-proof vest.
Five others were charged with incitement of a riot. Prater said those arrested were affiliated with antifa or other far-left groups.
“Several people were carrying flags that were identified as belonging to the following groups: Antifa, Soviet Union (communism), American Indian Movement, Anarcho-Communism (solid red) and the original Oklahoma flag … currently adopted by Oklahoma Socialists,” the police report stated. “Several known supporters of anti-establishment organizations were present in the crowd.”
Protesters nationwide have been demonstrating against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest. Some of the protests have devolved into riots featuring looting, arson, and vandalism.