The Trump administration’s aggressive response to the demonstrations and riots that have broken out in U.S. cities following the police killing of George Floyd continues apace, with U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly suggesting that prosecutors charge demonstrators with sedition.
Barr, according to a story published today by The Wall Street Journal, encouraged prosecutors on a conference call last week to charge violent protestors with federal offenses wherever possible. The attorney general encouraged the use of sedition charges even in contexts when state charges would apply, reports the Journal, which spoke to several people familiar with the call.
Federal sedition law makes it a crime for two or more people to “conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force” the U.S. government, and it comes with a potential penalty of 20 years in prison.
The invocation of rarely used sedition laws to go after protestors is raising alarm among civil libertarians and some legal experts.
“If you start charging those people, even if you don’t get a conviction, it may make people think twice before going out to exercise their right to free speech,” said Jenny Carroll, a University of Alabama law professor, to the Journal.
AND ALMOST ENTIRELY IN NEIGHBORHOODS THAT COULD LEAST AFFORD IT, BECAUSE JUSTICE OR SOMETHING: It’s Official: The George Floyd Riots Were the Most Destructive in U.S. History.
Protests in 140 cities across America in the wake of the death of George Floyd devolved into violent looting and riots that have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 26 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black. The first two weeks of these deadly riots were officially the most destructive riots in U.S. history when it comes to insurance claims.
The looting, vandalism, and arson that took place between May 26 and June 8, 2020, will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion in paid insurance claims, Axios reported on Wednesday. This total eclipses the $775 million (in 1992 dollars) — $1.4 billion (in 2020 dollars) — paid out after the Los Angeles riots following the acquittal of the police officers who brutalized Rodney King. Other riots in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s did not reach $500 million in 2020 dollars.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: Prepare for Barr to be the most dangerous Attorney General in American history to Domestic Terrorists and Seditionists
Barr considers jailing Seattle’s mayor for sedition after Trump attacks her on Twitter.
Be prepared for the most dangerous Attorney General in American history to be the tool Trump uses to illegally upend election results. t.co/NOs1WWUzgg
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) September 17, 2020