Outside forces have hijacked protests over George Floyd’s death across the US and turned them violent, US Attorney General William Barr said, echoing earlier statements by Minnesota officials.
“Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” Barr said after several days of rioting in Minneapolis, New York, Atlanta, Portland and other cities prompted by the death of African American George Floyd during his arrest.
The attorney general reminded people that crossing state lines to incite violence and take part in riots was a federal crime and vowed that the law will be enforced.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz suggested that domestic terrorists or foreign influences were behind the unrest in his state’s largest city, Minneapolis, where Floyd died in police custody on Monday.
The riots started to resemble a “military operation,” which is aimed at “attacking civil society, instilling fear, and disrupting our great cities,” the governor pointed out.
“The people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents,” Mayor Jacob Frey insisted, adding that the rioters came “largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region.”
According to Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter all of those arrested during the unrest on Friday night weren’t locals. “We don’t know these folks,” he exclaimed.
During the massive rioting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 – provoked by the death of a black man at the hands of the police – the authorities also blamed outside forces for the situation going out of control. The police officer in charge of the operation to restore order in the city, Ron Johnson, said that “criminal elements” who came from as far as New York and California were responsible for 80 percent of the violence.
Remarkable how closely this is tracking with the events in Ferguson, where officials made similar claims as things escalated. And it’s worth noting that some of those claims fell apart under scrutiny: https://t.co/x9hOhmMH2l https://t.co/szaBFvMBv1
— Chase Woodruff (@dcwoodruff) May 30, 2020
Donald Trump earlier took to Twitter to blame “ANTIFA and the radical left” for the violent outbursts, insisting that the riots had little to do with anger over what happened to Floyd.
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