Communism Alert: 15 years in jail for filming
Mark Ibrahim is the first federal agent to be accused of crimes during the January 6th Capitol Hill riot. It may be – and should be – one of the more controversial cases.
Ibrahim is a perfect fit for the left wing’s dubious narrative that government agents were complicit in a fantastical coup plot that they claim took place on the Hill. He is an agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), a part of the Department of Justice – or at least was. He was fired shortly after it was known that he, his brother (an FBI agent) and a friend, who is an FBI informant had attended the demonstration. The Agency described Ibrahim as a “probational” employee.
After Ibrahim was fired from the DEA, he appeared on a television news program to explain his side of the story. Whether that appearance was responsible for what happened next is debatable – and maybe irrelevant – because what did happen next is hard to explain under any circumstances — even in these days of political divisiveness.
Ibrahim was arrested and charged with a series of serious crimes that could get him up to 15 years in the federal hoosegow. That’s right … 15 years. That is more than many murderers and rapists get.
Since Ibrahim was carrying his service pistol, he was charged with carrying a firearm on restricted property. He did not remove the gun from its holster or brandish it. Although the badge was visible in a couple of photographs – and the handle of the gun less visible to the naked eye.
The charge is very unusual since law enforcement officers are generally allowed to carry their guns at all times. In fact, they are often encouraged to do so since they are never totally off duty. It is a gray area, at best.
They further accused Ibrahim with posing for pictures – and in one case “flashing his badge.” An enlarged close up of his hip showed a clear image of his badge and a less easily identifiable portion of his holstered gun.
If he did expose his badge, is that a crime? He was not impersonating an officer. He was an officer. And one of the directives to officers facing mobs or suspects is to identify themselves.
It did appear that Ibrahim either lied or failed to recall the photos with his badge in view. According to the indictment, he said, I had my creds. I had my firearm, and my badge on me … But never exposed … Not that I know of.” That last phrase suggests that he was not recalling the photos or did not feel that he had actually flashed the badge.
Ibrahim was charged with standing on the Peace Monument on the grounds of the Capitol. Apparently, it was fenced off with bike rack barriers that had been partially removed. Ibrahim did not remove them. Standing on the monuments is technically a crime, but one that is almost never enforced – and certainly not as a major crime.
The prosecutors say that at one time he was holding an early American “Betsy Ross” flag. At another time, a flag with the words “Liberty or death.” They did not explain how that was illegal or even offensive.
In his defense, Ibrahim notes that he did NOTHING violent. He never entered the Capitol Building. He did not get into any physical altercations with police or others. He did not damage any property. He did not remove any barriers. He entered areas where barricades were already knocked down and the police line had already left the area. He did not encourage and provoke anyone to riot, breach the police lines, or take violent action. He did not draw his gun. He appears to have exposed his badge for personal photographs but did not use his badge in an attempt to get people to obey any orders. He did not join crowds pushing against police lines. In many ways, he was there more as an observer than a protestor – and certainly not a rioter.
Prosecutors say he was there to shoot a video for a new podcast and cigar business. Is that a crime? That would seem to be exculpating evidence that he was not there to be violent. He was not even there to protest or demonstrate. But then, I am not a prosecutor.
Remember, the prosecutors are accusing him of crimes that call for up to 15 years. Really?
At worst, any reasonable person might say the Ibrahim used bad judgment. He may have technically violated some trespassing laws that he did not even know existed and are usually ignored – like standing on a statue. Maybe he should not have shown his badge in the photos – violating some DEA rule perhaps. Maybe he was not candid with investigators – but from what the prosecutors cited, it is not at all clear that he willfully lied.
Now consider the charges against Ibrahim and the charges – or lack thereof – of the thousands of vandals, looters, arsonists and killers who ravaged America’s urban centers over and over – for days on end. Consider even the eight months sentence recently doled out to a guy who did break into the Capital and did participate in the rioting. That means Ibrahim could get 23 times the sentence of an actual rioter and intruder.
At best, Ibrahim should have been given a civil citation or two and fined a few hundred bucks. That is all the law should demand. And if we follow prosecutorial discretion based on what normally happens in all those other cases of rioting, there should be no charges at all. But 15 years???
Those who really did riot, did break into the Capitol, vandalized and injured police and others should pay dearly for their serious crimes that they clearly committed. But it appears that Ibrahim is more the victim of hyper prosecution being whipped into a frenzy by Democrats and the leftwing media.
Virtually ALL peaceful protectors break some laws. They block traffic. Illegal. They block the entrance to businesses. Illegal. They disobey police orders. Illegal. But in devotion to our constitutional right to assemble and protest, we overlook these technical crimes – and that is mostly okay. Hell, we even overlook very serious crimes – and that is not okay.
Ibrahim’s lawyer expects to have the charges thrown out of court – and then to sue the government for prosecutorial abuse. That may be attorney bluster, but personally, I hope he does and wins.
So, there ‘tis.