In a new report published on Thursday, the Heritage Foundation has detailed the 14 steps necessary for local, state, and federal governments to safeguard their communities against endless cycles of rioting.
"This issue is bigger than protecting federal buildings and the federal personnel guarding those buildings. Government officials, the private sector, civil society, and the media should implement plans to protect citizens and property, prosecute criminals at the state and federal level, and communicate the truth about who the perpetrators are, what they are actually doing, and why it is a threat to democracy," the Heritage Foundation stated.
The main cause for concern comes from Portland, Oregon as the city has witnessed more than 60 days of protests and rioting in the aftermath of George Floyd's death while he was in Minneapolis Police custody. Minneapolis was the first city to see looting and rioting in the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death.
Up until recently, the rioting in Portland was focused on the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in the downtown area as rioters targeted the building. Extra federal officers were deployed to protect the federal property. After an agreement was reached between the Department of Homeland Security and the Oregon state government, where Oregon State Police would be the main force protecting the courthouse, rioters have turned their sights on various precincts of the Portland Police Bureau.
Better view. Cops moving in now. pic.twitter.com/rEGhRLmqD3— Hannah Ray Lambert (@TheHannahRay) August 6, 2020
"It is the poor, including minorities, who are most often affected by such riots. State and local governments can assist in repair-and-recovery efforts by removing as much red tape as possible for business and homeowners to quickly rebuild and resume normalcy," the conservative think tank goes on to say.
In order to regain control of cities, the Heritage Foundation recommends the following:
- Position additional supervisory law enforcement personnel around federal facilities, increasing the leader-to-follower ratio, to ensure proper law enforcement and engagement tactics.
- Draw a line and hold it. Federal law enforcement should define a line beyond which its officers will not allow the rioters to go, and prepare an overwhelming employment of federal law enforcement officers to make sure that further attacks on the Portland courthouse are not successful in the event that the line is crossed after all.
- Seek meetings and communication directly between federal law enforcement officers and local police for coordination and discussions to avoid interference by local politicians.
- Provide citizen access to the federal judicial system or lose federal funds. City leaders who obstruct law enforcement from protecting federal property and staff are partially responsible when criminals attacking federal buildings cause federal courts and agencies to suspend services there.
- Local prosecutors should prosecute the rioters who violate state criminal law. Local and state leaders in cities where riots are happening have a duty to faithfully execute the state criminal laws as written.
- Prosecute rioters who violate federal criminal law. In each of these cities where riots are allowed to continue, there are federal buildings and federal officers. Many of those federal officers live in the communities most affected by the riots.
- Local and state politicians should refrain from interfering in historical and successful law enforcement cooperation. For decades, federal and state authorities have worked side by side to combat crime. They share information, work cooperatively to keep the peace, and allow all Americans to enjoy the blessings of liberty in a safe environment.
- Federal officials should terminate federal funding to local authorities who refuse to prosecute all crimes fairly.
- The police should use and release daily body camera footage. Federal, state, and local law enforcement should implement wide-spread use of body cameras and maintain separate recordings of rioting activities and encounters around the federal buildings.
- The police should also brief Americans directly on law enforcement actions.
- Prosecutors should inform the public of crimes committed and of how many criminals are involved.
- Politicians, business owners, and civil society members should plan and execute extensive communications strategies to make the facts known. Assuming that the mainstream media will not start to report on this urban violence honestly any time soon, conscientious government officials at every level, business owners, organizations, and members of civil society should plan and execute communications strategies to inform the American public truthfully.
- State and local governments should eliminate red tape to accelerate recovery for affected businesses and government agencies, state and local officials should waive, to the greatest extent possible, those government rules and restrictions that are likely to slow growth.
- Re-open businesses and schools. COVID-19 has adversely affected many aspects of Americans’ lives and the pandemic response has aggravated the current urban violence. With so many people out of work and out of school, they have extra time on their hands to go to the site of the riots to watch, thereby increasing the crowds, or worse, to participate in the riots.