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At least 50 people are facing Federal riot charges for inciting or committing violent acts during national anti-racism protests, according to the Department of Justice, and more arrests are yet to come. So far, however, none of the individuals taken into DOJ custody have official ties to any “Antifa-type” organization.
“The federal charges cover a variety of alleged criminal behavior — including impersonating a US Marshal in Florida, aiming a laser at a police aircraft in Wisconsin and inciting a riot in Illinois that caused damage to more than 50 businesses,” the New York Post reported Friday, based on a cache of documents released to CBS reporter Catherine Herridge.
Most of the arrests — at least 40 of the 53 — were for violent acts, including tossing Molotov cocktails into law enforcement vehicles and into the front windows of stores and other businesses and toppling “historically significant” statutes on federal land.
“Of the 51 cases, spread across 18 states, brought by the Justice Department thus far, 20 involve allegations related to arson; 16 involve the illegal possession of a firearm, more often than not by a felon; another eight people face charges related to inciting a riot or civil disorder,” Forbes added.
Although Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump have suggested there will be a major investigation into “Antifa” and other anarchist groups, none of the individuals rounded up and charged by the DOJ in recent days are listed as having direct connections to any organized crime or domestic terror group, something a number of left-leaning outlets have pointed out.
“Attorney General William Barr has blamed anti-fascist activists for violence during protests over George Floyd’s death. But records show no sign of Antifa links in Justice Department cases,” NPR crowed late last week. “Federal arrests show no sign that Antifa plotted protests,” added The New York Times.
But at this point, Barr told Fox News, arrests are being made on acts of violence, and the DOJ isn’t focusing on connecting anyone in custody to a larger, national anarchist movement — yet.
“We have some investigations underway, very focused investigations on certain individuals that relate to Antifa,” Barr said. “But in the initial phase of identifying people and arresting them, they were arrested for crimes that don’t require us to identify a particular group or don’t necessitate that.”
Those arrests may come later, as the DOJ establishes connections between rioters and national organizations or, simply, national organizers who encouraged individual Antifa-type organizations to take advantage of the largely peaceful anti-racism protests to incite riots and cause violence. The DOJ appears to be focusing on Antifa almost as an organized crime entity, investigating sources of funding.
“Some of it relates to an Antifa. Some of it relates to groups that act very much like an Antifa. As I said, there’s a witch’s brew of extremist groups that are trying to exploit this situation on all sides,” Barr added.
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