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Republican Attorneys General Call on Democrats to Condemn Ongoing Violence in Cities

Federal law-enforcement officers face off against rioters in Portland, Ore., July 24, 2020. (Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)

Republican state attorneys general on Wednesday condemned the prolonged violence and unrest gripping cities across the nation and called on Democratic attorneys general as well as Joe Biden to do the same.

The Republican Attorneys General Association noted that Wednesday marks 100 days since violent protests erupted in Portland the day after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, including after Floyd passed out.

Protests in downtown Portland have been ongoing since May 26, the day after Floyd’s death, and have been consistently followed by “nightly criminal activity including assaults on law enforcement officers, destruction of property, looting, arson, and vandalism,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement last month.

“Over the last 100 days, we have seen brutal acts of violent crime and arson across the country,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who serves as vice chairman for the Republican Attorneys General Association, said Wednesday.

“The Defund the Police movement has emboldened criminals across the nation, and anyone who does not condemn this movement is helping to turn America into a lawless society,” Carr continued. “We must focus on restoring law and order, ending lawlessness, and ensuring that our neighborhoods are safe.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge agreed and called for seeking “unity through civil discourse, not endless civil unrest.”

“Unfortunately, Democrats have learned nothing from their dangerous push to defund the police as violence and anarchy has continued to run rampant over the last 100 days,” Rutledge said. “We cannot allow the Democrats to continue to politicize nationwide civil unrest and put Americans in danger.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody warned that Democrats have made clear they will “stand by while radicals attack our officers and destroy our cities.”

“As the wife of a law enforcement officer, I know firsthand that these brave men and women put their lives on the line daily to protect our communities,” she said. “It is unacceptable that the attorney general of any state would stand idly by and watch their own cities burn around them.”

After Floyd’s death, both peaceful protests and rioting broke out in metropolitan areas around the country, and calls emerged to overhaul and defund police departments. In Minneapolis, the city council announced that a veto-proof majority had voted to dissolve the department, a proposal opposed by both the mayor and police chief.

On Monday evening, Portland Police declared a riot after about 200 demonstrators marched to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s residence to demand that he resign. Rioters broke windows and started a fire in the area.

Several people have died since clashes began between activists and law enforcement as well as counter-protesters, including a pro-Trump demonstrator in downtown Portland who was fatally shot by a suspect who reportedly declared his allegiance to Antifa on social media before the incident. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters who his lawyer claims were part of a mob of that was threatening the teen.

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