Posted 6 days ago
Protesters blamed for the violence that broke out in Oklahoma City the last weekend in May were charged Friday with terrorism, rioting and assault.
If convicted of the felony offenses, they could be sentenced to years in prison.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater made the decisions himself on the charges in a get-tough approach meant to deter others from going too far during protests in the future.
"This is not Seattle," Prater said Friday. "We're not putting up with this lawlessness here."
Also charged Friday were five defendants identified as involved in the painting of murals in downtown Oklahoma City this week. They are accused in an incitement to riot charge of interfering with a police sergeant who was trying to take a homicide witness for an interview at police headquarters Tuesday.
In court affidavits filed with the charges, police claimed that several agitators during the May 30 protest stayed to the center to keep the crowd in an agitated state.
"Several people were carrying flags that were identified as belonging to the following groups: Antifa, Soviet Union (communism), American Indian Movement, Anarcho-Communism (solid red) and the original Oklahoma flag ... currently adopted by Oklahoma Socialists," police reported.
"Several known supporters of anti-establishment organizations were present in the crowd."
Charged in two terrorism cases was Isael Antonio Ortiz, 21, of Welch. He is accused of burning an Oklahoma County sheriff's van May 30 and attempting to burn a bail bonds business "along with a large crowd of other individuals."
Charged with him in the terrorism case over the burned van was Eric Christopher Ruffin, 26, of Oklahoma City. Police reported he encouraged the "wanton destruction" and recorded it on Facebook Live. He is quoted from the Facebook video as saying every single one of those that kill Black people need to die and "that's what happens when you got numbers outside."
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