Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said she fears the U.S. is ‘descending into a race war’ as violence across the country continues and the FBI probes a potential network of domestic terrorists who may be traveling to protests.
“What I’m worried about is this country descending into a race war,” Bowser said at a press conference on Monday, adding that an increase in police forces in some cities, like Portland and Seattle, has created more anger among protesters.
“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-versus-white rhetoric,” Bowser added.
DC Police Chief Peter Newsham added there was evidence large groups of people were traveling to cities with large scale protests to provoke more violence and create havoc. Newsham added the FBI is now investigating potential domestic terror groups.
D.C. Metropolitan Police Department has arrested 527 individuals for curfew violations riot-related to burglary and other violations between May 30 and Sunday, according to department data. Of those arrested, 44% were from the District of Columbia, 27% from Maryland, 12% from Virginia, and 4% from other states.
Bowser also criticized prosecutors for being too soft on rioters who were arrested freeing them up to return and create more carnage.
“When we make an arrest for violent protests, we need those violent agitators to be prosecuted. … There hasn’t been a willingness from the US Attorney’s Office to prosecute them,” she said.
Protests have been occurring in the nation’s capital all summer. In June, President Trump had the Secret Service tear gas Black Lives Matter protesters so he could take a photo outside St. John’s Episcopal Church. Later the same week, protesters posted their protest signs on the fence the Secret Service installed outside the White House as an extra security measure.
Multiple cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Bloomfield, CT, have also erected large scale Black Lives Matter murals including one outside of Trump Tower, which the president called ‘a symbol of hate.’