Congressional Republicans are now issuing demands for answers in the wake of the Department of Justice (DOJ) arguing at length for a more lenient sentence for one convicted arsonist that started a fire resulting in the death of a man during the 2020 George Floyd riots.
A judge slammed a sentence on Montez Terriel Lee, 26, of over a 10-year stint in prison this past month after Lee plead guilty to the crime of burning down the Max It Pawn Shop during the May of 2020. Lee dodged a murder charge over the death of Oscar Stewart, who was a father of five that perished in the pawnshop fire.
Standard federal guidelines for sentencing would state that Lee should have been imprisoned for 20 years instead, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon. Prosecutors with the DOJ put forth the argument, in a memo before his sentencing, that he should get, at maximum, 12 years due to his actions being the result of feelings of anger and frustration at the treatment of black people by police.
“This is an extraordinary case. The United States therefore seeks a downward variance, and a sentence of 144 months,” claimed the memo. “Mr. Lee’s motive for setting the fire is a foremost issue. Mr. Lee credibly states that he was in the streets to protest unlawful police violence against black men, and there is no basis to disbelieve this statement.”
“There appear to have been many people in those days looking only to exploit the chaos and disorder in the interests of personal gain or random violence. There appear also to have been many people who felt angry, frustrated, and disenfranchised, and who were attempting, in many cases in an unacceptably reckless and dangerous manner, to give voice to those feelings. Mr. Lee appears to be squarely in this latter category,” claimed he prosecutors just before quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that people rioting was just them utilizing “the language of the unheard.”
The federal judge seemed to be more in favor of the prosecutors’ argument and issued a sentence on Lee of a 10-year sting in prison. Lee burned down a pawn shop on the 28th of May, 2020, all while masked. There was a video taken of the incident that caught the 26-year-old boasting about his intended actions, saying, “F*** this place. We’re going to burn this b**** down!”
Many Congressional Republicans have slammed the DOJ over the memo about sentencing over the past few days. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put the Biden administration on blast this past Tuesday as part of a letter to the department.
“But in the case of Mr. Lee, the acting U.S. attorney in Minnesota seems to have reached the bizarre conclusion that his radical political motives somehow excuse, rather than exacerbate, his wrongdoing,” stated McConnell, as reported by Fox News. “It is critically important for lawful authority to deter those who would intimidate their political opponents through violence or its threats. It is therefore shocking that the former acting U.S. attorney in Minnesota saw things differently, presumably because he bears some sympathy for the cause Mr. Lee violently supported. That is unacceptable.”
As Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) stated in his own comments critiquing the Justice Department: “Showing leniency toward a career criminal who committed murder is bad enough. But justifying the murder because the career criminal shares the Biden administration’s politics is beyond the pale. The American people deserve to know whether leniency for left-wing murderers is the official policy of the Biden Department of Justice, or whether this travesty was a one-off.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) also joined in on the criticism party. “It would appear that Mr. Lee is enjoying the benefits of kid-gloved, preferential treatment in this case because he committed violence in furtherance of the preferred political views of your office and the current administration,” Roy stated, as reported by The Free Beacon.