(WIVB) – State Senator Sean Ryan is demanding to know why a number of Western New Yorkers who were at the U.S. Capitol the day it was ransacked have not been charged.
Ryan is suggesting there is a double standard based on race.
He compared the quick action of law enforcement during the Black Lives Matter protests last year with what action has been taken- or not taken- by federal prosecutors against the protesters who were at the Capitol on Wednesday.
“I knew I was on camera- that the media has torched our society,” said Peter Harding of Cheektowaga, a Trump supporter.
Harding was recalling why he used a lighter on the pile of TV news equipment that had been destroyed by protesters.
He and several other Western New Yorkers admitted to being there.
“Despite the mountain of evidence, the U.S. Attorney for WNY has yet to charge a single person who helped desecrate the U.S. Capitol,” Sen. Ryan said.
Ryan compares federal prosecutors’ apparent lack of progress against the mostly white protesters with the quick action taken against protesters in last year’s Black Lives Movement demonstrations, including the arrest of a young man charged with trying to set City Hall on fire.
“It seems we have two systems of justice in America,” Ryan said.
But in a terse written reply, James Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, said his office has been working around the clock, and any suggestion that there is undue delay or race-based reason why charges have not been filed is incorrect, unfounded, and offensive.
Attorney Terry Connors told News 4 that building a criminal case against actions taken outside of the Western District of New York requires you to prove that the planning took place before the suspect left the district.
“Was an overt act committed in this district that would justify a prosecution in this district?” Connors said. “Otherwise, it would have to be prosecuted based on what they did when they arrived in Washington, D.C.”