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DC mayor says violent protesters must be prosecuted to ‘fullest extent of the law’ after tumultuous weekend

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After a weekend of clashes between protesters and police, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city will not tolerate any more violence and called for prosecutions “to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Democrat mayor, who has often clashed with President Trump over protests, sent a letter to the U.S. attorney in D.C. that called for “prosecutions of those responsible for assaulting police officers, destroying property and undermining the safety” of other demonstrators.

(Image: PBS screenshot)

Police reported that they made 14 arrests between Sunday afternoon and early Monday following a weekend of unrest that seemed to be set off last week on the final night of the Republican National Convention. In an open letter Monday to U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, Bowser said that “it is critical that when these violent offenders are taken into custody, their cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

She also noted that in “41 of the 42 rioting arrests” that were made in the district in August, the office declined to prosecute, as well as declining 28 of 63 affidavits “in support of arrest and search warrants” connected to the protests, adding that she was “dismayed” at the outcome.

“This mirrors a disturbing pattern we have also identified in homicide cases, where our records reveal 18 warrants that are currently pending with your office awaiting action,” the letter stated. “I believe we both recognize the grave threat created by allowing homicides to remain open.”

At a press conference on Monday, Bowser added: “When we arrest people for … felony charges, we need the U.S. attorney for the District, who is a federal appointee of the president, to prosecute them.”

She called out “outside agitators” for the unrest, claiming that they “came together to create havoc” and were not to be confused with groups that protested Friday during the March for Washington commemoration.

“What we’re certainly not going to do is stand by and allow outside agitators to come to our city to distract us from the work of D.C. residents,” she said Monday.

“We know the President considers himself Mr. Law and Order,” Bowser said, referring to a tweet by Trump.

“We are for law and order too,” she said, adding that Trump’s tweets were “meant to distract from the failures of the last four years.”

The president called for “Law & Order” again on Twitter Monday, adding that “Anarchists & Agitators” have gotten “carried away.”

D.C. Police Chief Pete Newsham noted that protests which began Friday night and continued into the weekend lead to several injuries sustained by police officers, including a broken nose and an eye injury as a result of a laser pointer.

He claimed that those arrested over the weekend “appear to be folks who are coming into our peaceful city with the intent of destroying property and hurting folks.”

Bowser also expressed her worries about a “race war” in the U.S during her remarks at Monday’s press conference.

“What I’m worried about is this country descending into a race war,” said the mayor who commissioned a BLM street painting and renamed a street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”

“And I’m worried about the continued incitement of violence from leadership who should be focused on bringing our communities together. … Our police and peaceful protesters will be safer when we come together as a community and tamp down this black vs. white rhetoric,” Bowser said.


(Source: YouTube)

“We will not tolerate violence of any kind in Washington, D.C.,” she added. “We don’t tolerate it if it’s on the streets between rival crews and we won’t tolerate it against our police officers, the men and women who are charged with keeping our community safe. And we certainly won’t tolerate it against our residents and visitors.”

Bowser’s letter to the U.S. Attorney in the District and her comments at Monday’s press conference sparked plenty of commentary on social media.

Frieda Powers

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