Fighting in the streets, arson, and looting have marred peaceful protesters who only want change for the better in the United States over the past week.
Most major cities have experienced the destructive behavior, as those groups intent on setting Americans against each other have been inciting violence.
President Trump placed the blame for the violence and disruption to the protests on antifa and he is working to have it labeled a terrorist organization. Videos have emerged of group members inciting crowds to use violence to make their point, after the death of black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.
States are handling the prosecution of those responsible for the violence differently. Local police have arrested many for breaking the law during the riots, however, some states have decided to not prosecute citizens, reported the Daily Caller.
In St. Lois, Missouri, 40 people were arrested for rioting, but none faced charges. “In a stunning development, our office has learned that every single one of the St. Louis looters and rioters arrested was released back onto the streets by local prosecutor Kim Gardner,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt tweeted Wednesday, June 3.
In a stunning development, our office has learned that every single one of the St. Louis looters and rioters arrested were released back onto the streets by local prosecutor Kim Gardner. pic.twitter.com/tMZVAyHssw
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) June 3, 2020
Gardner’s astonishing decision led to Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s agreement with U.S. attorneys to prosecute the state’s rioters, most of whom were arrested in St. Louis.
“Those who seek to use these protests to destroy property and commit acts of violence, including those who come to Missouri from out of state, will be held accountable for their actions by federal and state authorities,” Schmitt said in a news release, according to Fox4. “Those acts of destruction and violence will not be tolerated.”
This decision has led to two men being charged this week, one with distributing information on explosives and other destructive devices, the other attempting to organize riots.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is following the approach Missouri has taken, joining with federal district attorneys in his state to prosecute violent rioters, with those who are coming from other states being of particular interest.
“Texans must be able to exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of having agitators, including those coming from out of state, hijack their peaceful protest,” Abbott and the U.S. attorneys said in a joint statement. “Today’s announcement will ensure there are harsh consequences for those breaking the law and that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
In Chicago, more than 1,500 arrests have been made, with most being charged with disorderly conduct. Around 235 have serious charges, many involving firearms. Video footage has emerged of one man setting fire to a police vehicle, dressed as the Joker from the Batman movie, leading to his arrest.
Protesters from out of state were responsible for turning peaceful protests into riots and began their organized disruptions in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was allegedly murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin.
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has made it a prime concern to seek prosecution for all those who cross state lines in order to start riots.
Out-of-state protesters were responsible for inciting much of the violence and looting at the original demonstrations in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Other cities across the country have experienced similar trends. In California, video footage will be used to catch those involved in rioting, arson, and looting, with the FBI looking for photos and other evidence through social media that may lead to convictions.
“It’s going to be a while,” one California police officer told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We are hopeful.”