Federal prosecutors have charged over 300 people with committing crimes “adjacent to or under the guise” of peaceful protests that erupted across the nation over the summer against police brutality and racial injustice, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
The federal charges, the department said, include attempted murder, assaulting a law enforcement officer, arson, damaging federal property, malicious destruction of property using fire or explosives, burglary of a federally-licensed firearms dealer, inciting a riot and others.
The charges were first reported by Fox News.
“Violent opportunists have exploited these demonstrations in various ways,” the department said in a statement explaining the charges.
“Through these acts, these individuals have shown minimal regard to their communities and for the safety of others and themselves.”
The Justice Department came down hard on cities this summer as protests grew violent, causing unrest from Portland, Ore., to Kenosha, Wisc., and New York City, while the nation heatedly debated systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
Portland, along with Seattle, Wash., and New York City were labeled “anarchist jurisdictions” by the department over the weekend, placing all three at risk of losing federal funding.
“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Barr said in a statement at the time.
“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” he continued.
“It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”
New York Post
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