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Texas Republican Rep. Louis Gohmert is proposing a Trump administration crackdown on the “leaders” of Left-wing anarchist destruction as violent protests continue to plague the country following last month’s death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
In a column for Breitbart News, Gohmert, a former Texas state judge, argued that the Justice Department could use the RICO — Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations — Act to go after persons or entities believed to be illegally stoking violence and property destruction.
The time has come for the DOJ to prosecute the leaders of this national crime wave under the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for their coordinated efforts to cause destruction & chaos through all violent means at their disposal … https://t.co/gseMoofVcR
— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) June 25, 2020
Violence and looting immediately broke out in Minneapolis following the death of Floyd, who was pinned by his neck for nearly 10 minutes to the pavement by former police officer Derek Chauvin, who has since been charged with second-degree murder.
The death also sparked widespread demonstrations and protests that were initially peaceful. But as days passed into weeks, it has become clear to the Justice Department that efforts to pull down and deface public property, as well as spark endless unrest and more violence, is being orchestrated by as-yet-unrevealed sources.
During a press conference earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department and FBI had “evidence” that “a witch’s brew of extremist organizations” had hijacked Floyd demonstrations and were using them to foment perpetual unrest.
AG BARR: “We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity. We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides..” pic.twitter.com/c0NKFU3mdY
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 4, 2020
“As I told the governors…we understand the distinction between three different sets of actors here,” Barr said. “The large preponderance of those who are protesting are peaceful demonstrators who are exercising their First Amendment rights.
“At some demonstrations, however, there are groups that exploit the opportunity to engage in such crimes as looting,” he continued. “And finally, at some demonstrations, there are extremist agitators who are hijacking the protests to pursue their own separate and violent agenda.
“We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity,” Barr noted further. “We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence.”
In an interview with the “Verdict” podcast featuring Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday, Barr said that several “indictments” have already been filed against people suspected to have committed criminal acts during recent rioting. He also noted that there are currently about 500 investigations underway.
“We are seeing strong evidence of coordination in many of these violent episodes,” he added.
In his column, Gohmert said that DoJ should be using the strongest legal measures against rioters and those who are coordinating them.
“The enemies of self-government and friends of anarchy are purpose-driven to accumulate their own power in the chaos. These well-organized, well-funded violent fringe leaders harbor utter contempt for our country’s traditional values, particularly our belief in God, freedom, and our Constitution,” he wrote.
“The time has come for the Department of Justice to prosecute the leaders of this national crime wave under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for their coordinated efforts to cause destruction and chaos through all violent means at their disposal, including looting, arson, assault, vandalism, and even murder,” he continued.
“Our nation and our competent leaders must fulfill their primary duty to protect this nation and to ensure that swift justice is served upon all who seek to destroy these United States from within.”
Barr noted that the various Left-wing factions have a singular objective.
“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,” he told the Verdict podcast.
“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.”
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