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BCA finds 'no criminal wrongdoing' among participants at 'Storm the Capitol' rally

Inflammatory comments were made by speakers, but no charges will be brought.

A review by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension of comments made at the "Storm the Capitol" rally on St. Paul found no evidence of "criminal wrongdoing."

That's according to House Speaker Melissa Hortman, who announced the results of the BCA's findings Wednesday afternoon.

A large crowd gathered outside the Minnesota Capitol on Jan. 6 – at the same time an insurrection was ongoing at the U.S. Capitol – and several inflammatory statements were made by speakers that were of sufficient concern that police removed the 14-year-old son of Gov. Tim Walz from the Governor's Mansion, to which some attendees later marched.

The comments include one speaker, a GOP activist from Woodbury, warning state leaders and judges who upheld the presidential election as well as COVID-19 measures: "And these other judges that we’re coming for, we’re going to come for you in a way where we are going to back you into a corner."

She added: "My god you guys, we are going to fight, we are going to go down, there's going to be casualties. I'll be the first casualty, I don’t care. We are not going to give up."

While the comments were not warranting of criminal action, Hortman was highly critical of the rhetoric used on that day, and said that while no laws may have been broken, those who make such inflammatory comments must be held accountable.

"In the United States, the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech is a bedrock right," she said. 

"The First Amendment permits speech that is false, misleading, and hateful, and it is a high bar for an individual’s speech to cross the line and to constitute criminal activity. The BCA concluded that bar was not met in this case. Nevertheless, false, misleading, and hateful speech has consequences. It creates an environment of fear and division, can cause harm to individuals targeted by such speech, and it makes it more difficult for us to work together and solve problems."

"Those who engage in this kind of speech must face accountability from family, friends, neighbors, and voters for the harm caused by their speech, even when the speech does not constitute criminal wrongdoing," she said.

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