WASHINGTON — On Saturday, September 18 a rally has been planned on Capitol grounds to protest the ongoing criminal cases against people charged in connection to the Capitol Riot. The organizers of the “Justice for J6 Rally" have repeatedly referenced hundreds of Americans being detained in jail, going so far as to call those arrested for crimes Jan. 6 "political prisoners."
“As we continue to raise the profile of these individuals, it makes it harder and harder for the left’s phony narrative about an insurrection to stick,” rally organizer Matt Braynard, a former 2016 Trump campaign official, said on Steve Bannon’s podcast released July 30. “What’s going to define [the rally] is where it’s going to take place: we’re going back to the Capitol.”
So we're taking the claim straight to the Verify team.
Are hundreds of Capitol riot defendants still behind bars?
Dr. Keena Blackmon Public Information Officer, D.C. Department of Corrections
No, there are not “hundreds” of Capitol Riot defendants still being detained in the DC Department of Corrections. Less than 40 people involved on Jan. 6 are currently detained at the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.
WHAT WE FOUND
On Sept. 8, Braynard appeared on Steve Bannon's "War Room" to explain the motivations behind his protest.
"There is no threat to anybody from our peaceful protest on behalf of the political prisoners who have been persecuted as a result of the Jan. 6 rally," Braynard said.
Some online commenters picked up on the “political prisoner” theme, while others doubled down on the "hundreds" claim, referencing those still detained in the DC Department of Corrections without bond before their trial.
But Dr. Keena Blackmon, Public Information Officer for the D.C. Department of Corrections said in an email to WUSA9, “As of September 2, 2021, there were 37 residents charged in the January 6th insurrection detained at the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.”
The defendants include people like alleged Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola and Ethan Nordean, and alleged Oath Keepers Jessica Watkins and Kenneth Harrelson all of whom have been ruled a "danger to the community."
Although the number of Jan. 6 defendants in custody could have changed slightly since that Sept. 2 count provided by the DOC, it is far from the hundreds number that has circulated online.