WASHINGTON, D.C. – There’s been a copious amount of criminal acts that have transpired during the protests across the nation following the death of George Floyd, and officials are saying that social media is helping in gathering evidence to land arrests.
— Asif Beg (@asifuno) June 5, 2020
Lately, the Justice Department has been reportedly pressing U.S. attorneys across the country to utilize the federal courts when dealing with some of the criminal acts that have become widespread.
The reason being is that the federal courts can typically levy harsher charges for various acts when prosecuted through said court system.
On June 4th, AG Bill Barr stated that there have been 51 arrests of alleged violent offenders by federal agents since the protests started breaking out in late May.
According to the U.S. Marshals, 21 federal court houses across 15 different states have been damaged in some capacity during these riots.
Furthermore, the ATF is said to be investigating 847 cases of arson connected to the protests, with 76 of them having said to have involved explosives of some sort.
FBI Director Christopher Wray touched on the egregious acts that have cropped up lately, pointing out that the criminally-minded are seizing a moment of opportunity:
“We’re seeing people who are exploiting this situation to pursue violent, extremist agendas, anarchists like antifa and other agitators.”
— Mom76 (@amovicky1) June 5, 2020
The FBI director also remarked on the causalities that have occurred from the likes of rioters taking advantage of the protests:
“Many have suffered from the violence instigated through these radicals and extremists, including members of our own law enforcement family, officers killed or gravely injured while just doing their jobs, fulfilling their duty to the public by trying to keep everyone safe.”
An official from the Department of Justice, who is involved in the coordinated response to address outside agitators and extremist groups seeping into the protests, acknowledged that he is aware of at least two separate incidents of violence involving Antifa.
BREAKING: AG Barr is going after ANTIFA ⬇️
Saying "we have evidence that Antifa," has been "involved in instigating" violence during riots.
They are domestic terrorists and should be held accountable for their actions!https://t.co/5nMMaA8Rto
— Tea Party Patriots (@TPPatriots) June 5, 2020
While declining to note where the incidents took place, the official stated the following on the matter:
“The violence and property damage is being caused by a combination of opportunistic looters and plain thugs taking advantage of the situation.”
Three individuals stemming from a far-right extremist movement known as “Boogaloo” were also recently arrested and charged federally for allegedly planning to incite a riot over in Las Vegas, Nevada. The FBI were reportedly tracking the trio since April and were made well-aware of their intentions by way of an informant.
Yet, one of the biggest aids lately to both state and federal investigators has been via social media posting and videos.
In Nashville, Tennessee, police were able to apprehend 25-year-old Wesley Somers who was alleged to have set fire to a City Hall building. Video clips and photos captured of the incident led investigators to Somers, according to court documents.
Thread by @LuluLemew: JUNE 4, 2020, TN —NASHVILLE City Hall destruction Federal #Arson Criminal complaint issued today charged Wesley Somers,Hendersonville, TN, with malicious destruction of property using fire or explosives, at the Metro Courthouse (USA… https://t.co/GkDJ1vtGTl
— Diane Lange (@DclareDiane) June 5, 2020
In Chicago, police were also able to track down 31-year-old Timothy O’Donnell, who allegedly set a Chicago Police vehicle on fire during one of the protests in the city. Once again, photos taken by witnesses nearby aided in said apprehension.
Timothy O’Donnell has a prominent tattoo on his neck reading “Pretty.” That was one of the ways that police were able to identity him for arrest. O’Donnell is shown opening the gas cap on the police vehicle and later sitting on the street watching the vehicle burn. pic.twitter.com/WrabuTu41b
— National Security News (@Natsecuritynews) June 5, 2020
Then there was the recent case of 28-year-old Matthew Rupert, who not only allegedly traveled out of state from Illinois to Minnesota to engage in riotous acts, but also was said to have filmed himself doing it. Court documents from that case stated the following:
“In the video, Rupert passes out explosives he indicates he possessed, encourages others to throw his explosives at law enforcement officers, actively damages property, appears to light a building on fire, and loots businesses in Minneapolis.”
Matthew Rupert "has been arrested 44 times in his hometown alone. Rupert, who turned 28 last month, has spent well over a year in the Knox County Jail. Most of Rupert’s arrests have been over acts of hooliganism, though there were some gun crimes as well." https://t.co/buF5C6xqgE
— Jon Seidel (@SeidelContent) June 5, 2020
Also, in Buffalo, New York, captured video led to the arrest of 20-year-old Courtland Renford. In that incident, Renford allegedly threw a burning laundry basket into the city hall building.
#Justice Buffalo, NY
Man CHARGED With Arson After Throwing Burning Basket Into Buffalo City Hall During Weekend Riots
— ✖️AnonCassi ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (@AnonCassi) June 2, 2020
AG Bill Barr hosted a press conference on June 4th, discussing a myriad of the topics surrounding the DOJ investigation and response to the riots that have transpired across the country. You can view the view for that press conference below.
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