His justice minister ordered indicting those who cause violence in the marches with federal charges that carry longer sentences.
In a private call with federal prosecutors across the country, the message from Attorney General (Donald Trump’s Attorney General) William Barr was clear: go aggressively after protesters causing violence.
Barr pressured his prosecutors to file federal charges as long as they can, keeping control of the cases, even if a defendant could be tried in his place, in state court, according to officials with knowledge of last week’s call, and who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. .
Federal convictions often result in prison sentences longer.
The Trump administration’s crackdown has been going on for more than 300 arrests for federal crimes in the protests that erupted after George Floyd’s death.
An AP analysis of the data shows that while many are charged with violent crimes such as arson, caused by throwing Molotov cocktails and burning police and assault cars, and injuring law enforcement, others don’t they are, something that provokes criticism in that at least some arrests are an effort politically motivated to block the demonstrations.
“The speed with which all of this moves from state to federal court is impressive and unbelievable,” said Charles Sunwabe, representing an Erie, Pennsylvania, man accused of setting a fire in a cafeteria, after a protest on Sept. 30. may.
“It is an attempt to intimidate these protesters and silence them,” he said.
Some cases are considered false And they shouldn’t be in federal court, lawyers say, like a teenager charged with online civil disorder.
The Trump administration took advantage of the rallies and aggressive federal response to show what the president says is his law enforcement prowess, claiming he is countering the rise in crime in Democratic-led cities.
Trump mocked the protesters and increased violence around the protests, although most are peaceful.
Indeed, pockets of violence emerged in cities across the country, including Portland, Oregon, where protests escalated into clashes with law enforcement for weeks. There were nights of looting and other riots in other cities, like Rochester, New York; Minneapolis, Louisville, Washington and Chicago.
Federal officials were also called to Kenosha, Wisconsin after major protests and riots following the shooting of Jacob Blake and the shooting and killing of two protesters, and the subsequent arrest of a 17 year old boy.
It should be noted that this teenager was not accused of no federal crime. Nor was a man charged with shooting and killing a protester in Louisville following the death of Breonna Taylor.
While Barr has prosecuted protest-related violence directed at law enforcement agencies, he argued that there is seldom a reason to open comprehensive investigations into the practices of police departments.
However, the Justice Department opened a series of civil rights investigations in individual cases.
Barr said he doesn’t believe there is systemic racism in police departments, although blacks have a chance disproportionately older being killed by the police, and public attitudes about police reforms have changed.