United States Attorney General William Barr announced that the Department of Justice is leading over 500 investigations into the destruction caused by riots across the country. Barr explained the reason for the investigations on Sen. Ted Cruz’s podcast “The Verdict.”
“We’ve had scores of indictments so far for such things as arson, destruction of federal property,” Barr said. “We have right now about 500 investigations underway, so it’s picking up pace. We are committed to holding accountable the people who engaged in this.”
Barr explained the reason for the increase in investigations is heavily associated with the lack of response by other levels of government.
“That’s where the burden is right now, on state and local, and in many places, they’re not stepping up to the plate, they’re not doing their job,” said Barr.
Barr also suggested that many of these riots were protests that were infiltrated by “provocateurs and agitators” with some even having associations to Antifa.
“We are seeing strong evidence of coordination in many of these violent episodes,” he explained.
According to Barr, many of the investigations will begin with prosecutions based on the videos of rioters defacing and attempting to tear down the President Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. Barr, however, also clarified that prevention is a big focus in the DOJ’s handling of these investigations.
“We have to do a better job of trying to stop these groups before they are able to do damage to these monuments and statues,” he said.
Protests have erupted around the nation since the death of George Floyd at the end of May. May of these protests, however, quickly escalated into riots by people who defaced, attacked, and even burned different establishments, businesses, and statues all around the country.
In a statement released in May, Barr expressed his concern with the riots and vowed to address them.
“It is time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it,” he said. “The continued violence and destruction of property endangers the lives and livelihoods of others, and interferes with the rights of peaceful protestors, as well as all other citizens.”