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Over 300 People Facing Federal Charges For Crimes Committed During Nationwide Demonstrations



By R. Mitchell

The Department of Justice announced today that more than 300 individuals in 29 states and Washington, D.C., have been charged for crimes committed adjacent to or under the guise of peaceful demonstrations since the end of May.

To date, of the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs), more than 40 USAOs have filed federal charges alleging crimes ranging from attempted murder, assaulting a law enforcement officer, arson, burglary of a federally-licensed firearms dealer, damaging federal property, malicious destruction of property using fire or explosives, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, unlawful possession of a destructive device, inciting a riot, felony civil disorder, and others.  Violent opportunists have exploited these demonstrations in various ways.

Approximately 80 individuals have been charged with offenses relating to arson and explosives.  Approximately 15 individuals have been charged with damaging federal property. In some instances, these individuals are alleged to have set fires to local businesses as well as city and federal property, which will regrettably incur millions of taxpayer dollars to repair damages to the Portland Courthouse, Nashville Courthouse, Minneapolis Police Third Precinct, Seattle Police East Precinct, and local high school in Minnesota; and, to replace police cruisers in South Carolina, Washington, Rhode Island, Georgia, Utah, and other states.

Corporate and local businesses were also targeted, including a Target Corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, Boost Mobile Store in Milwaukee, Champ Sports Store in Tampa, and local restaurants including a pizza parlor in Los Angeles and a sushi bar in Santa Monica.  Through these acts, these individuals have shown minimal regard to their communities and for the safety of others and themselves.

In Washington, D.C., outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, a man was engulfed in flames after he poured a liquid from a gas can onto three U.S. Supreme Court Police vehicles; he suffered severe burns. In Virginia Beach, authorities identified a man who is alleged to have threatened to burn down an African American church.

Approximately 35 individuals have been charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer and related offenses.  One of these cases was charged in Massachusetts; the rest of these individuals were charged in Oregon.  The assaults have targeted local and federal law enforcement officers.  In Portland, a man is alleged to have approached a U.S. Marshals Deputy from behind and struck the deputy in the upper back, neck, and shoulder with a wooden baseball bat; another man, allegedly assaulted a Deputy U.S. Marshal with an explosive device.  In Boston, a man allegedly shot at least 11 times toward officers, including a deputized federal officer.

Approximately 30 individuals have been charged with offenses related to civil disorder.  In several instances, these individuals leveraged social media platforms to incite destruction and assaults against law enforcement officers.  In Cleveland, two Pennsylvania men are charged with driving to the city with the intent to participate in a riot and commit acts of violence.  In their possession, authorities found a black backpack containing a hammer, two containers of Sterno Firestarter Instant Flame Gel, a can of spray paint, a glass bottle of liquor with a bar-style pour top, a Glock semi-automatic firearm and two magazines loaded with ammunition.  In Knoxville, one individual allegedly instructed his social media followers to, “bring hammers bricks whatever you want.” The same defendant allegedly used a trashcan lid filled with an unknown liquid to strike a law enforcement officer in the head while the officer was seated in a police vehicle.

Charges have also been filed against individuals accused of committing burglary and carjacking.  In Pittsburgh, two individuals allegedly attempted to burglarize a Dollar Bank.  In Louisville, two individuals were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary involving controlled substances at a local Walgreens. Another Louisville individual was charged with carjacking; at the time of the carjacking, the individual was on a felony diversion as a result of a February 2020 conviction for charges that were initially filed as complicity to murder and complicity to robbery.

Several of these charges carry significant maximum prison sentences. For example, felony assault of a federal officer with a dangerous weapon is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  Arson is punishable by up to 20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

The following agencies and U.S. Attorney’s offices have investigated these cases along with multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies: The FBI; U.S. Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and United States Attorneys’ Offices (including the District of Arizona, the Central District of California, the Northern District of California, the Southern District of California, the District of Colorado, the District of Columbia, the District of Delaware, the Middle District of Florida, the Northern District of Georgia, the Central District of Illinois, the Northern District of Illinois, the Southern District of Indiana, the Western District of Kentucky, the Middle District of Louisiana, the District of Maine, the District of Massachusetts, the District of Minnesota, the Eastern District of Missouri, the Western District of Missouri, the District of Nevada, the District of New Jersey, the Eastern District of New York, the Northern District of New York, the Southern District of New York, the Western District of New York, the Eastern District of North Carolina, the District of North Dakota, the Northern District of Ohio, the Southern District of Ohio, the District of Oregon, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Western District of Pennsylvania, the District of Rhode Island, the District of South Carolina, the Eastern District of Tennessee, the Middle District of Tennessee, the Northern District of Texas, the Western District of Texas, the District of Utah, the Eastern District of Virginia, the Western District of Washington, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and the Western District of Wisconsin).

The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest.  Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov, or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com.

In addition to those who commit fires, the FBI is looking for people who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind.  Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at FBI.gov/violence.

An indictment and criminal complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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