LOS ANGELES – In the wake of widespread looting and arson across the Southland, federal law enforcement officials are working closely with local authorities to identify instances in which criminals unrelated to legitimate protestors may be subject to federal prosecution.
At the direction of Attorney General William P. Barr, the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI are employing the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to identify organizers, instigators and participants in serious criminal activity. Federal authorities are also coordinating federal resources with state and local partners, and will consider bringing federal criminal cases where appropriate.
“The outrage and meaningful protests resulting from the death of George Floyd are completely understandable. We support and will protect those who wish to demonstrate peacefully,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “But some have chosen to act with violence by destroying property, ransacking businesses and setting fires. The criminals who have caused havoc in neighborhoods across Southern California appear to be exploiting a situation in which other citizens are exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble and express their viewpoints. We are confronting this outlaw behavior by providing federal resources and working closely with local police to identify cases in which federal charges could be appropriately filed.”
“The FBI supports and works diligently to safeguard legitimate protests and Constitutionally-protected free speech,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI does not tolerate crossing the legal line into criminal activity at the expense of innocent citizens and business owners, and we will work with our local partners to pursue federal prosecution, where warranted.”
Mr. Hanna and ADIC Delacourt commend the men and woman who serve the public in local police and sheriff’s departments. While protecting us from the chaos on the streets, these officers and deputies are demonstrating true bravery and professionalism.
The FBI is asking members of the public to provide information that could be used to help identify actors who are actively instigating violence in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death. The FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting violent encounters surrounding the civil unrest that is happening throughout the country. If you witness or have witnessed unlawful violent actions, you are urged to submit any information, photos or videos that could be relevant at fbi.gov/violence. You may also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) to verbally report tips and/or information.