Human Rights First Commends D.C. Attorney General for Suing Those Responsible for Jan. 6 Insurrection

WASHINGTON – Using a law originally written to cripple the KKK, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine set a historic precedent yesterday, suing the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over their roles in the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol.

“We have long said that violent extremism has no place in our democracy, especially as it was used on January 6 in an attempt to upend democracy itself. The events of that day prove that nativist white violent extremism is an existential threat to democracy as well as an assault on human rights,” said Michael Breen, CEO and President of Human Rights First. “Human Rights First commends D.C. Attorney General Racine for using a modern version of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, and taking a cue from the recent Integrity First for America’s civil litigation against white supremacist leaders and groups for planning the 2017 violence in Charlottesville, to take on – and, we hope, take down — these anti-democratic, nativist extremists.”

The suit is the first effort by a government agency to hold perpetrators civilly responsible for their attempts to violently overturn the will of the voters by storming the Capitol.

Human Rights First has long focused on the events of January 6 and the threat nativist white extremists pose to our democracy and human rights. In June, the organization commended the creation of a congressional committee to investigate the events of January 6; prior to that, Human Rights First supported the effort to create a bipartisan commission on the insurrection.

In October, Breen testified at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) 8th Digital Forum on Prevention, “Moving Past the CVE Era: The New National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.”

Last week, the organization launched Pyrra, a tool to analyze these threats online, as a venture-backed enterprise. Today Human Rights First’s Innovation Lab presented to the public several tools being developed that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to monitor these extremist threats and violence.


Published on December 15, 2021


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