U.S. Attorney General William Barr joined President Donald Trump on Tuesday for a trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to survey the damage caused by protests that grew in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month.
While he was there, Barr revealed that federal evidence showed “violent instigators” from across the nation were directed to Kenosha with the express purpose of agitating demonstrators and escalating violence, Breitbart reported.
“We expected matters to get worse”
The attorney general’s remarks seemed to support a statement earlier in the day by Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, who said that more than half of the individuals arrested during days of civil unrest were from out of town.
“The president directed me to assemble a group of federal law enforcement that could be dispatched here, which we did, and staged them in Chicago,” Barr revealed.
He went on to affirm that officials “were picking up information that these violent instigators were coming to Kenosha” from states including California, Washington, and Illinois.
“So we expected matters to get worse,” the attorney general said, according to Breitbart. “And once again, we saw the hijacking of a protest by a hardcore group of radicals who were carrying out, planning a coordinated, violent attack on law enforcement, on public property, and on private property. And that can’t be tolerated.”
He went on to cite recent statistics showing the prevalence of individuals from other cities and states among those arrested during the protests.
“Out of 175 arrests, 100 were from out of town,” Barr said. “And some — these are the same people using the same tactics that have been used in various cities: Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, now Kenosha, Portland.”
“Trying to inflict injuries”
In addition to crimes including arson and rioting, Barr said violent protesters were “throwing projectiles at police and literally trying to inflict injuries on police.”
Trump similarly spoke out against reports of attacks on police during the Kenosha visit, raising concerns that rioters had been using cans of soup as projectiles meant to inflict maximum injury on officers.
Barr made it clear that the violent rioters would be brought to justice, declaring that “in all of these cities, there are task forces of federal and state officers reviewing all the video that we can get our hands on.”
The attorney general vowed that “there’s going to be accountability,” and the millions of Americans who have supported him since he most recently took the helm at the Justice Department are counting on him to make good on the promise.