Things That Matter

guy who stole nancy laptop and Attempted to Sell It To the Russians.

Photo via DAUPHIN COUNTY PRISON

In case you forgot that there are two Americas, let the case of 22-year-old Riley Williams serve as a reminder.

Williams was one of the far-right insurrectionists that stormed the Capitol on January 6th. But Williams was not just any insurrectionist.

The young woman was wanted by the FBI under suspicion of stealing Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s laptop with the intent to sell it to Russian intelligence.

According to a witness–who has been identified as Williams’ ex-boyfriend–the woman “intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service.”

Authorities arrested Williamson on January 18th on charges of theft, trespassing and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

However, Riley Williams only stayed in jail for a few days before she was released under the care of her mother. Williams will be required to wear an ankle monitor at all times and will only be able to leave her house for work or other authorized reasons.

Williams’ lawyer says that the claims against her client have been “overstated” and stem from the revenge efforts of an angry ex-boyfriend.

But the FBI says they have video evidence of Williams committing the alleged act.

According to the FBI, an ITV documentary shows Williams on-camera as part of the mob that stormed the Capitol. At one point, she is headed towards Speaker Pelosi’s office. The documentary allegedly shows her entering Speaker Pelosi’s office and swiping the laptop.

Investigators also say they have evidence that Williams wrote on free speech social network Discord: “I DOMT (sic) CARE I TOOK NANCY POLESIS (sic) HARD DRIVES I DON’T CARE KILL ME.”

Of the charges, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson said: “The gravity of these offenses is great. It cannot be overstated.”

But Williams’ defense team appears to be taking the angle that Williams stormed the Capitol and allegedly stole the laptop at the behest of former President Trump. “It is regrettable that Miss Williams took the president’s bait and went inside the Capitol,” her lawyer told the judge.

Considering Ms. Williams committed literal treason, many people are asking: why isn’t she in jail awaiting her trial?

The outcry over what many consider a double-standard in the justice system has been great. People are pointing out that the justice system treats people who look like Riley Williams with kid gloves, while excessively punishing people of color for lesser offenses.

In particular, people are bringing to light a case that is similar in many ways: the case of Kalief Browder. The parallels of this case are obvious: both suspects were young, both were charged with theft.

But while Kalief Browder allegedly stole a backpack when he 16-years-old and was forced to spend 3 years in Rikers while awaiting trial, Riley Williams was released to the custody of her mother after a few days in jail while being accused of literal treason by the FBI.

It should be noted that, after spending much of his time in Rikers in solitary confinement, Browder committed suicide shortly after his release from prison.

It’s cases like this that show how the class and racial divide in America can literally be the difference between living and dying.

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