Number of Prosecutions and the Nature of Crimes Post March on the Pentagon


The United States Marshals Service reports that a total of 682 individuals were apprehended during the March on the Pentagon, which occurred on October 21, 1967. Out of these, 499 were indicted on federal charges, while 183 faced state charges in Virginia.

The most frequent federal indictments included:

  • Unlawful assembly, with 519 individuals being charged
  • Obstruction of federal officers, with 230 charged
  • Trespassing police lines, with charges against 166 protestors
  • Rioting acts, leading to charges against 15 individuals

The predominant state-level charges in Virginia were as follows:

  • 133 faced disorderly conduct charges
  • 113 were charged with refusal to disperse
  • Obstruction of justice charges were leveled against 92 individuals

Out of the 499 federally charged persons, 324 were declared guilty. Their most common penalties were as follows:

  • Around 215 were fined
  • Suspended sentences were given to 91 individuals
  • 70 persons received probation
  • Jail time was served by 48 demonstrators

Among those who were charged with state crimes in Virginia, 125 were pronounced guilty. The most commonly meted out sentences were:

  • Fines involved 95 individuals
  • 24 walked away with suspended sentences
  • Probation was handed out to 15 persons
  • Jail time was awarded to 11 offenders

Significant prosecutions

A few prominent prosecutions arose from the March on the Pentagon, such as:

  • David Dellinger: A co-founder of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, and a leader of the March on the Pentagon, Dellinger was charged for inciting a riot and initially sentenced to two years of imprisonment. This conviction, however, was overturned on appeal.
  • Abbie Hoffman: Another leader of the protest, Hoffman, faced charges of inciting a riot and received a sentence of three years in prison. This decision was also reversed on appeal.
  • Dr. Benjamin Spock: Famous pediatrician and anti-war activist, Spock was charged with conspiracy to obstruct the draft. Although initially sentenced to two years in prison, his conviction was later overturned on appeal as well.


The majority of persons apprehended during the March on the Pentagon were charged with minor infractions. However, leading protest figures confronted severe charges. While some of these convictions were upheld, others were successfully challenged during appeal.

It’s crucial to remember that the March on the Pentagon was a greatly contested event. The government’s choice to prosecute a significant number of the demonstrators was largely seen as an attempt to suppress opposition and quell the anti-war movement.



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