AG Barr Wanted to Throw the Book at Government Officials Enabling Rioting

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Posted: Sep 17, 2020 12:30 PM
AG Barr Wanted to Throw the Book at Government Officials Enabling Rioting

Source: (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Portland recently marked 100 days of non-stop rioting and unrest in the city after government officials and the mayor repeatedly refused federal law enforcement help to quell violence in the city. 

According to a new report from Associated Press correspondent Mike Balsamo, the Department of Justice investigated whether prosecutors could charge local officials with a series of crimes for enabling, rather than addressing, the ongoing situation. 

The Justice Department explored whether it could pursue either criminal or civil rights charges against city officials in Portland, Oregon after clashes erupted there night after night between law enforcement and demonstrators, a department spokesperson said Thursday.

The revelation that federal officials researched whether they could levy criminal or civil charges against the officials — exploring whether their rhetoric and actions may have helped spur the violence in Portland — underscores the larger Trump administration’s effort to spotlight and crack down on protest-related violence.

For many nights, federal officials were told that Portland police officers were explicitly told not to respond to the federal courthouse as hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside, some throwing bricks, rocks and other projectiles at officers, and not to assist federal officers who were sent to try to quell the unrest.

While charges have not been filed against government officials for their roles in the riots, DOJ prosecutors in cities across the country have been pursuing cases against suspects for months.