The charges are related to a riot that took place in Oklahoma City on May 30, and Prater wants to send a strong message to those who act this way.
He said: “When you act like a terrorist, you will be treated like a terrorist. This is not Seattle. We’re not putting up with this lawlessness here.”
Among those being charged is:
21-year-old Isael Antonio Ortiz, who was charged with burning an Oklahoma County sheriff's van and attempting to burn down the office of a bail bondsman. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
26-year-old is being charged with calling for “wanton destruction" related to the burned sheriff's van; he was caught trying to incite the crowd on Facebook Live.
18-year-old Malachai Davis was charged with terrorism in relation to the damage done to the bail bonds office; he was caught on video with bloody brass knuckles.
Other charges soon followed, with 26-year-old Saxon Weber being charged with assault and battery of a police officer; a dozen others have also been charged with rioting.
Aaron James Snyder, 35, was charged with rioting after being accused of punching a police officer in the head multiple times while officers were trying to detain him after he assaulted someone, a court affidavit shows.
22-year-old Adion Mallett reportedly hit an officer in the shoulder with a rock during a violent protest on May 31. He was found with a loaded pistol on him at the time of his arrest. He later admitted to throwing the rocks but claimed he did not intend to hit the officers with them.
Many of the suspects who are being brought up on charges were caught thanks to videos that were posted on social media. According to court briefings, several of the people participating in these riots were carrying flags of groups such as antifa, the Oklahoma Socialists, and various other communist groups.
Perhaps not surprisingly, civil rights activists are upset with the DA for filing charges against the protesters, particularly the terrorism charges. The ACLU of Oklahoma claims that the charges are politically motivated, calling them an abuse of power and alleging that they are potentially unconstitutional.
The Oklahoma City Black Lives Matter chapter insists that the property damage was not violent, nor was it an act of terrorism. Instead, they say this is merely an example of the racial inequality seen in the criminal justice system.
In fact, they believe the perpetrators of these violent crimes shouldn’t even be charged. The ACLU said: “We continue to join with our partners in the community in following the lead of Black Lives Matter OKC in asking that all charges against protesters be dropped.
A protest is expected this week over the charges, with Black Lives Matter Oklahoma City saying in social media posts that “This cannot stand!” and describing the defendants as political prisoners.
An undeterred Prater has said that he will not be intimidated by people or organizations “from protecting those we serve by aggressively enforcing and prosecuting the law.”
Leaders cannot allow their cities to be overrun by rioters, and taking a hard stance could help to deter such behavior in the future.
Sources for this article include: