Despite Trump’s Claims, DOJ Records Show No Links To Antifa Amid Protests
The Hill reports that Department of Justice records show no link between Antifa and the federal cases related to protests or riots over George Floyd’s death.
- On June 9, National Public Radio reviewed court documents for 51 individuals charged with federal crimes. The Department has not yet alleged that any of these individuals have links to Antifa.
- The only mention of an extremist group is in a case against three Nevada men who allegedly belong to the right-wing Boogaloo movement, which wants to start a civil war. The men are facing charges of plotting violence during the Nevada protests.
- Former federal prosecutors told National Public Radio that if the Department did have “indications that an individual had ties to or documented interest in a particular extremist movement, they would likely include it in charging documents to cite it during a bail hearing.”
In a Fox News interview, Attorney General William Barr emphasized that it is possible individuals charged now may be linked to Antifa later. He said,
We have some investigations underway, very focused investigations on certain individuals that relate to Antifa… in the initial phase of identifying people and arresting them, they were arrested for crimes that don't require us to identify a particular group or don't necessitate that.
- Both Barr and President Donald J. Trump have blamed Antifa activists and agitators for causing most of the violence related to recent civil unrest in the wake of protests against police brutality and racism.
- Barr has stated that the United States would prosecute “ extremist agitators,” and Trump has called the civil unrest “acts of domestic terror.”
- Trump also promised to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization, which would be a first for a domestic, decentralized movement.
The Associated Press has also examined local police files, court records, and online social media posts for 217 people arrested in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. as part of its own effort to search for evidence of Antifa involvement in demonstrations and rioting.
- More than 85 percent of the arrestees in the records examined thus far were local residents, rather than outside agitators.
- Of those charged with minor infractions such as curfew violation and failure to obey law enforcement, “only a handful appeared to have any affiliation with organized groups.”
- Individuals charged with more serious crimes—such as arson, burglary, or theft—were still “overwhelmingly local residents taking advantage of the chaos.”
- Social media posts portrayed only a few as left-leaning activists, and one arrestee is a self-described “anarchist.” A few other individuals’ social media suggested they were on the political right and supported Trump.
The Press concluded,
President Donald Trump has characterized those clashing with law enforcement… as organized, radical-left thugs engaging in domestic terrorism, an assertion repeated by Attorney General William Barr. Some Democrats, including Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, initially tried to blame out-of-state far-right infiltrators for the unrest before walking back those statements. There is scant evidence either is true.
Santana Boulton, a University of Minnesota Law School student who participated in a protest on Interstate 35 on May 28, said she was skeptical of the Antifa allegations, arguing that “Antifa isn’t even real.”
As an actual person who identifies with the political label of anarchist, the only thing anarchists do is have meetings where they argue for five hours and get nothing done.
Boulton was arrested for unlawful assembly and violating curfew on May 30. She asserted, “It was nothing like a riot. It was a sit-in” and that police did not order a dispersal engaging the crowd.
Header image credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead / Public Domain