NU criminologist Jack Levin: More protest violence wouldn’t be surprising

BOSTON — Northeastern University Criminologist Jack Levin is concerned that we could see more violence associated with the change of presidential administrations. Last week rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building as the House was preparing to certify the Electoral College’s election of Joe Biden.

The images from the chaos shocked Levin.

“I have to say, I never thought it could get to this point in the United States,” he said.

Levin has studied domestic hate groups for decades. His extensive research is featured in his co-authored book, “The Violence of Hate.”

Levin said the violence displayed in the U.S. Capitol building is a dangerous turning point because, for the first time, aggrieved groups are taking action.

“Before this, they had a lot on their minds. They thought a lot about what they might do. But they didn’t actually act. Now they are acting, sand that’s the problem we have,” Levin said.

Related: President Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge

Levin believes the Capitol rampage was the work of a coalition of right-wing extremist groups, united in their support for President Donald Trump and their hatred for the federal government.

“I guess that’s the common denominator, they despise the government, they hated Congress,” Levin said. “And they decided they were going to get even with those people they felt were responsible for their personal problems, and they did it by ransacking the Capitol.”

The FBI is working to identify and prosecute as many of the rioters as possible. And President Trump, in a statement, is calling for an end to the violence. But Levin is not so sure that these suddenly emboldened groups will get the message.

“It would surprise me if we didn’t see more violence [on Inauguration Day], simply because of the impeachment of President Trump. He will be a martyr,” Levin explained. “I think we have to be prepared for the response that we’re going to get from his followers because they love him.”