DOJ Announces 500 Open Investigations Into Protesters Who Toppled Statues

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The Department of Justice has 500 open investigations into the protest groups responsible for tearing down statues of historic figures, Attorney General William Barr announced during an appearance on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s podcast, Verdict.

The Washington Examiner reports the attorney general said his Justice Department officials have used their joint terrorist task forces to roll out indictments against community members responsible for toppling Confederate statues and those of U.S. presidents.

“When the real violence started around May 25, 26, and so forth, we started using our joint terrorist task forces around the country. And there are 35 of them around the country,” Barr told Cruz and conservative commentator Michael Knowles.

“And now they are starting to go full bore, cranking out investigations, indictments against the people who are involved in this violence. So we’ve had scores of indictments already for such things as arson, destruction of federal property, things like that. And we have, right now, about 500 investigations underway,” he continued.

Barr said the DOJ is paying specific attention to the protesters because of their coordination and organization.

“They want to tear down the country. They are different than many traditional groups, and frequently, the signs of coordination and activity are very close to the event itself,” the attorney general said. “So like the morning of or the day before, and things are very fast-moving. But we definitely see signs out on the street of communication, of organization, of preplanning, prepositioning of things. So it’s definitely organized activity.”

The Washington Examiner adds:

Barr, Cruz, and Knowles speculated that demonstrators had no understanding about the background of historical figures whose monuments they’d like to tear down. “Old guy with a beard, he’s gotta be bad,” Cruz said.

“They’re going after Saint Junipero Serra!” Knowles quipped earlier. “And Cervantes!” Cruz added.

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Barr said in late May that it appeared that “anarchic” and “far-left extremist groups” were responsible for the growing violence and riots that occurred simultaneously with protests following Floyd’s death. Barr declared that the violence being “instigated and carried out” by “antifa and other similar groups” in connection to nationwide protesting is “domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”

This month, Barr referred to a “witch’s brew” of extremist groups involved in the protests. Among the people recently arrested are alleged members of the right-wing extremist ‘boogaloo’ movement.