WASHINGTON — A judge has found probable cause to charge a 31-year-old Florida man who threw a rock at D.C. police officers during violent protests on Inauguration Day.
Dane Powell, of Largo, Florida, was charged with assault on a police officer while armed for the Jan. 20 incident, in which dozens of protesters threw rocks and bricks at police during a demonstration protesting President Donald Trump near Franklin Square.
Police charged 230 protesters with rioting. The protesters broke the windows of several businesses and damaged cars.
Powell’s lawyer said there’s no evidence the rocks he threw hit any of the officers who were hurt in the melee. But Judge Errol Arthur said the act of throwing was enough to convince him there was sufficient probable cause.
Metropolitan Police Lt. David Augustine testified that a police photographer taking pictures of the rock-throwing captured Powell, who was dressed in black, with his face covered.
Augustine said police were able to identify Powell by the boot with distinctive cutouts and an orange symbol near the sole.
The day after the protests, Augustine and other officers were canvassing outside Superior Court, as protesters were being released, when they saw Powell.
Powell was arrested at the Fifth District police station when he picked up property belonging to his girlfriend, who had also been arrested in the rioting.
Prosecutors told Arthur that Powell’s Facebook profile included the phrase: “A BADGE AND A GUN, NO MORE THAN VIOLENT THUGS.”
Powell’s attorney said the writing did not demonstrate her client was dangerous: “It just shows free speech — these are simply words that are critical of police behavior.”
His attorney said Powell served nine years in the Army, achieving the rank of sergeant and earning an honorable discharge after service in Bulgaria and Israel.
Prosecutors said Powell had been arrested, but not convicted, several times in Florida in cases involving assault of a police officer.
The judge said he would rule Thursday afternoon on whether to release Powell before his trial.
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