Categories: Rise to Peace blog

Domestic Terrorism Discussion with Michael Sherwin, Acting U.S. Attorney for D.C.

On Thursday 25th February, Mr. Sherwin joined Ahmad Mohibi, President of Rise to Peace, for an insightful discussion concerning domestic terrorism and explored the legal repercussions for the January 6th rioters, who stormed the U.S. Capitol. 

The discussion centered around what steps The Attorney’s Office for D.C. can take to prosecute these individuals, while also highlighting the structural limitations given U.S. laws. As of February 25th, over 330 people have been charged for their actions during the riot, with 290 of those cases being federal. Sherwin repeatedly addressed that regardless of who is President, a “crime is a crime” within his office and those who can be charged, will be.

The important factor in play is that there are no domestic terrorism laws within the U.S. Despite there being no specific law relating to domestic terrorism, there is a full arsenal of criminal charges including: trespassing, obstruction of justice, and destruction of Government property to name a few. Sherwin reassured the audience that “despite what label you want to put on these people… if there is a crime they will be charged”. His faith in the Justice System to uphold the equal application of justice regardless of race, gender, or sexuality was refreshing, particularly during these trying times in American history. 

Due to the rising levels of hatred and discontent in the U.S., the Biden administration has made it the top priority to fight domestic terrorism. Despite domestic terrorism becoming a growing concern across the U.S., there is no one clear consensus on how to properly approach what has become a new societal norm. Sherwin argued that we need to revaluate how we look at these cases and “remove the walls of domestic or international terrorism but focus on extremism” which is the root cause of these ills. Terrorism has no boundaries and is grounded in extremist ideology. This is where the United States needs to start in order to dismantle the growing extremist ideology on all sides and spectrums. 

This is where Rise to Peace comes in. We are looking around the U.S., using the information provided to us by Sherwin, and planning the best route to tackle the issue of extremism in the U.S. within a digital realm. Our upcoming project hopes to look at what we can do concerning this rising concern and how we can digitally counter extremists across the U.S. before further damage can be done.

Image Credit: Tampa Bay Times

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