More than 300 people in 29 states have been charged with committing federal crimes “under the guise” of participating in anti-racism and anti-police brutality demonstrations, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
“The hundreds of people were arrested in 29 states and are accused of federal crimes ranging from attempted murder, assault on a law enforcement officer, damaging federal property, and arson,” Fox News reported Thursday citing sources within the Justice Department.
“Of the more than 300 people arrest, roughly 80 were charged with crimes involving arson and the use of explosives, while 35 were charged in connection with assaults against law enforcement officers,” the outlet added. “About 15 people were charged with allegedly damaging federal property” and 30 people were charged with “civil disorder,” a relatively rare charge that the Department of Justice recently started leveling against those accused of committing violent acts at protests in Portland, Oregon.
“Violent opportunists have exploited these [anti-racism] demonstrations in various ways,” the DOJ added in a press release.
“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,” the DOJ statement adds. “Through these acts, these individuals have shown minimal regard to their communities and for the safety of others and themselves.”
Fox also reports that the majority of arrests occurred in Oregon even though the DOJ’s operation is spread across the country.
That tracks with reports from earlier in September indicating that the Department of Homeland Security was in possession of “overwhelming intelligence” connecting ongoing unrest in Portland to “violent Antifa anarchist inspired” organizations.
“CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge tweeted out a letter that she obtained that was written by Brian Murphy, former Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at DHS, that said in July that the violence in Portland had reached a level that officials could no longer state that the violence was ‘opportunistic’ but that it was ‘organized,'” the Daily Wire reported September 14th.
“We have overwhelming intelligence regarding the ideologies driving individuals towards violence and why the violence has continued,” Murphy wrote in the memo. “A core set of threat actors are organized, show up night after night, share common TTPs [tactics, techniques, and procedures] and drawing on like-minded individuals to their cause.”
“I recognize we may not be able to attribute every individual as VAAI, however, we need to look at the totality of the intelligence both current and previous and recognize the motivation for the violence and why people have shown up to commit violence for about 60 days and why individuals are using social media to encourage the VAAI on the ground to carry out acts of violence,” Murphy concluded.
The Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly noted that the heads of “Antifa-type” organizations are under scrutiny and that they are tracking how the organizations are able to coordinate and move money and supplies across state lines.
“We know they are moving around,” acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said earlier this month. “We have seen them in D.C., in Sacramento, and elsewhere. They are organized. We have seen similar tactics being used from Portland and other cities across the country as well. So, we know that there is organization. I know the Department of Justice is also looking at that as well.”
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