WASHINGTON - The U.S. Attorney’s office is lashing out against comments from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said federal prosecutors have been “reluctant” to pursue cases against violence in the midst of unrest over racial justice.
The mayor’s comments came after a weekend that saw clashes between police and protesters in the nation’s capital – which were followed by critical comments from President Donald Trump regarding her administration’s response.
“We need the U.S. Attorney for the District – who is a federal appointee of the president – to prosecute them. Right now, there’s no accountability for the people who come to these protests and attacked our police. And we haven’t seen a willingness from the U.S. Attorney to prosecute them,” the mayor said.
Police Chief Pete Newsham supported the mayor’s claims – noting a backlog of cases stemming from incidents involving police and protesters.
According to Bowser and Newsham, there are currently 68 felony warrants waiting for processing at the U.S. Attorney's office, including three on a police officer.
The U.S. Attorney’s office noted that it charged more than 120 criminal cases during the weeks of unrest that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis – an incident that ignited protests across the country.
The cases, they say, included assaults on police officers and federal agents, arson cases and property destruction.
According to the U.S. Attorney, the office brought charges against five people linked to what they described as protest-related violence.
“Mayor Muriel Bowser’s public statement today related to the United States Attorney’s Office reluctant to prosecute ‘68 outstanding arrest warrants’ is patently false and serves no purpose other than to pass blame and foster innuendo. Since the protests began, this Office has never turned down a single case for prosecution in which there was sufficient evidence to support probable cause,” they said in a statement.