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Inauguration protest groups condemn raid of activist's home

Inauguration protest groups condemn raid of activist's home (ABC7)

Organizers of anti-Trump protests on Inauguration Day have condemned a recent police raid on the home of a local activist. They have also accused MPD of "repressing dissent".

And court documents are revealing new details about the police investigation into Inauguration Day riots.

More than 200 individuals have been indicted for felony rioting on Inauguration Day. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison.

Dylan Petrohilos is not one of those defendants. He protested that day, but he was not arrested.

Yet, on April 3rd, his home on the 800 block of Delafield Place Northwest was raided by D.C. Police.

“I wake up in the morning and I hear loud knocking,” he said.

The search warrant for the raid details how – a couple weeks before the inauguration – an undercover MPD officer attended several meetings sponsored by an anarchist group. At one of these meetings, the undercover officer reported that Petrohilos led a discussion about plans for an anti-capitalist march on January 20th that would start in Logan Circle.

Also, the search warrant says, in an early January podcast, Petrohilos and a female co-host discussed plans to disrupt Inauguration Day and the need for "militant action."

But Petrohilos says he was not involved in any rioting.

“I was not [rioting]. I was mainly in McPherson Square that day,” he said. “I was protesting Trump's inauguration.”

The search warrant lists many items taken from Petrohilos’ home, including eight cell phones, multiple computers and SD cards, plus four smoke bombs and three M-80s.

“They were fireworks left over from the Fourth of July,” he explained. “I mean, people have fireworks.”

His fellow activists denounced the police raid at a press conference Thursday morning.

“We think this is an aggressive assault on the right to protest, the right to organize,” said David Thurston.

Lacy Macauley added, “We're very concerned that this represents a new repressive direction that our police department is taking.”

“They're trying to build a social map of who knows who in the activist community,” warned Legba Carrefour.

But in a statement, D.C. Police said this search was part of an on-going criminal investigation.

"We cannot comment on the specifics of this case, out of concern it would jeopardize the investigation. A judge found enough probable cause to issue this search warrant and we believe it was in line with our mission of ensuring the safety of all District visitors and residents,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment, because of the still pending felony rioting cases.

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