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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Criminal Instigators Hijacking Peaceful Protests Could Face Federal Prosecution

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Today, U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and U.S. Marshal Gary G. Schofield for the U.S. Marshals Service announced that federal law enforcement will investigate, apprehend, and charge violent criminal instigators and organizers who have taken over peaceful protests and violated federal law.  

These actions are in accordance with the directive from Attorney General William P. Barr, to coordinate federal resources with state and local partners and the regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Las Vegas. The intent is to protect the public, including those exercising their right to peaceful and legitimate protest, and uphold the rule of law.

“Last night, violence in Las Vegas resulted in the senseless shooting of a police officer while he was protecting our community,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Our thoughts are with the officer and his family. The right to peacefully protest and demonstrate is among the most fundamental rights held by all Americans. Violence and looting not only interferes with that right, but they also put lives at risk. Defying those peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights, and diverting focus away from the legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death, are unacceptable.”

U.S. Marshal Schofield said, “We have provided security to enforce federal laws and orders related to civil rights throughout our country’s history. After riots erupted over James Meredith's enrollment at Ole Miss in 1962, teams of Deputy U.S. Marshals protected him 24 hours a day for an entire year. In a similar circumstance, Ruby Bridges was also provided U.S. Marshals protection when she was one of the first students to integrate the New Orleans public schools. We continue to support peaceful protestors and reject what occurred after a peaceful protest over the death of Mr. Floyd last night. The violent criminal acts hijacked the message of the protest. We send our prayers to the officer and his family.”

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Updated June 2, 2020