More Than 300 People From 29 States Arrested For Crimes Under Guise Of ‘Peaceful’ Protests, Justice Department Says

(Photo by ANKUR DHOLAKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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More than 300 people in 29 states and Washington, D.C. have been charged for crimes ranging from damaging federal property to attempted murder “under the guise of peaceful demonstrations,” the Justice Department said in a Thursday statement.

More than 40 of the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices have filed charges alleging crimes including arson, burglary, and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, among others, according to the Justice Department.

PORTLAND, OR – AUGUST 11: Portland police and Oregon State Patrol officers work together to arrest a protester in front of the Portland Police Bureau North Precinct on the 75th day of protests against racial injustice and police brutality on August 11, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

The number of arrests were announced after months of protests and riots across the country following the death of George Floyd in May after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. While peaceful protests have taken place, riots have erupted in many cities, causing extensive damage and even resulting in numerous deaths.

Approximately 80 people were charged with arson and explosives related charges and roughly 15 were charged with damaging federal property, including the Portland Courthouse, Nashville Courthouse, Minneapolis Police Third Precinct, and a local high school in Minnesota. Police cruisers in several states will also require taxpayer dollars to replace after being damaged.

Businesses were also destroyed, looted, and ransacked in many cities where riots took place. In Minneapolis and St.Paul, more than 250 buildings were damaged and looted in late May and June, many of them small businesses. 

Approximately 35 people have been charged with assaulting law enforcement officers. A man in Portland, which has been the site of demonstrations for 110 days as of Thursday, is alleged to have struck a U.S. Marshalls Deputy from behind with a wooden baseball bat. 

Nearly 30 people were charged with offenses related to civil disorder, which included using social media platforms to incite destruction and assaults. 

“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,” the statement says.

A focal point for protests and riots shifted to Loisuville, Kentucky, where a grand jury indicted one police officer Wednesday on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree the case surrounding the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Two police officers were also shot and are in stable condition Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder announced at a press conference. A suspect is also in custody. 

A total of 127 people were reportedly apprehended between Wednesday and Thursday for damaging businesses, jumping on city vehicles, and violating a 72-hour curfew that was announced ahead of the grand jury report. (RELATED: Over 120 Arrests Recorded At Louisville Riots, Reports Say)