BOSTON — Boston U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has a simple message for anyone thinking of taking part in a violent protest on Inauguration Day: “Stay home, watch it on TV!”
Nearly one week ago, violence broke out in Washington D.C. when protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol. The Boston FBI issued a statement this week saying there is no credible threat of violence in Massachusetts on Inauguration Day but there are reports that there could be violence in all 50 states when President-elect Joe Biden takes the Oath of Office.
U.S. Attorney Lelling told Boston 25 News that, in Massachusetts, the feds will be ready.
“The FBI will have a command post set up in case there is any civil unrest in Massachusetts,” Lelling said. “We will have prosecutors present at that command post. This is a model that we’ve used a few times recently and it works.”
While federal authorities are preparing for next week, they are also reviewing tips concerning Massachusetts residents who may have taken part in the violence at the Capitol building.
Lelling said that any federal charges against a Massachusetts resident may have to come from the U.S. Attorney in Washington D.C. That’s because federal authorities in Massachusetts would have to prove a Massachusetts resident intended to cause chaos before he crossed state lines to get to the nation’s capital.
“If you are the U.S. Attorney in D.C., all you need to prove is that the person entered the Capitol, they were trespassing or something else, stole property, destroyed property, something like that, and you can prosecute,” Lelling explained. “But here in Massachusetts, we need a little more. So that investigation is on-going.”