Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) pressed President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) for answers after the agency dropped arson charges against a leftwing rioter, according to a letter exclusively obtained by Breitbart News.
Law enforcement officials arrested and charged then-19 year-old Victor Sanchez-Santa in federal court with arson charges in June 2020, shortly after he allegedly ignited a fire that burned an NYPD vehicle during the aftermath of the George Floyd riots.
According to the federal complaint filed against Sanchez-Santa:
On June 9, 2020, at approximately 1:20 a.m., SANCHEZ-SANTA stopped his car beside a marked NYPD vehicle on West 42nd Street in Manhattan. He got out of his car, took a cloth glove in his hand and held the glove to a flame until it ignited. He then put the burning glove underneath the NYPD vehicle, and got back into his car, leaving the glove burning beneath the police car.
After his arrest, United States Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman praised federal and local law enforcement officials for their quick response and help in identifying the defendant.
Although arson carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum 20-year sentence, Biden’s DOJ tossed out the case in November 2021.
United States Attorney T. Josiah Pertz wrote:
Based on a review of the evidence in the case and information pertaining to this defendant acquired subsequent to the filing of the Indictment, the Government has concluded that further prosecution of VICTOR SANCHEZ-SANTA would not be in the interests of justice.
The DOJ also determined that “deferring prosecution” would be in the best interests of the defendant and the United States.
Instead of prison time, prosecutors let Sanchez-Santa off with nine months of probation and mandatory anger management classes.
Banks requested Attorney General Merrick Garland send his office “all evidence in the case and information pertaining to this defendant acquired subsequent to the filing of the Indictment” that contributed to the DOJ’s decision to drop charges by June 24.
Banks added that the DOJ’s decision “fits its pattern [of] lenient treatment of left-wing rioters.” Banks called attention to two Manhattan attorneys who were arrested for throwing Molotov cocktails at an NYPD car during the BLM riots but subsequently had charges dropped and a “much more lenient” plea deal entered.
According to reporting from Politico, after you assumed office, the Justice Department showed a “newfound willingness to resolve the Portland protest cases without criminal convictions,” and according to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute about half of all the rioters arrested on federal charges in Portland.
The Indiana Congressman also called out Biden for being lenient with leftwing rioters while prosecuting January 6 peaceful protesters “to the harshest extent possible.”
“Under your leadership, the Department of Justice is operating under a two-tiered system of justice,” Banks said. “Violent rioters who are likely to vote Democrats are often released with a slap on the wrist, or less, while January 6th defendants are prosecuted to the harshest extent possible.”
“The unequal application of justice is an injustice, and your politicization of federal law-enforcement is an attack on the basic American principle of equal justice before the law,” Banks said.