WASHINGTON – The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly, said U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr in a statement May 29.
There have been violent protests across the United States over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer. Floyd died after a white officer in Minneapolis choked him with his knee for several minutes. That officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter earlier on Friday.
“With the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements,” said Barr. “Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda.”
The violence endangers lives and livelihoods of others and interferes with the rights of peaceful protestors, as well as all other citizens, said Barr.
“It is time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it.
“It also undercuts the urgent work that needs to be done – through constructive engagement between affected communities and law enforcement leaders – to address legitimate grievances. Preventing reconciliation and driving us apart is the goal of these radical groups, and we cannot let them succeed.”
Barr said it’s the responsibility of state and local leaders to ensure that adequate law enforcement resources, including the National Guard where necessary, are deployed on the streets to reestablish law and order.
“We saw this finally happen in Minneapolis last night, and it worked.”
Federal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law.
To identify criminal organizers and instigators, and to coordinate federal resources with state and local partners, federal law enforcement is using the existing network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF).
The FBI issued a statement Monday saying the Department of Justice, including the FBI, is also conducting an independent investigation to determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated.
The Minneapolis Division of the FBI has a website now available where citizens can send digital media in support of the federal civil rights investigation into the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd in South Minneapolis.
Citizens who were in the area before, during, or after the incident are urged to post any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant to the case at fbi.gov/MinneapolisTips
Citizens may also continue to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) to verbally report tips and/or information related to this investigation.
-Antifa photo Wikimedia Commons
–Sarah Murphy/Alberta Press Leader
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