As protests against racial injustice have served as the backdrop for agitators to destroy or deface historical monuments across the nation, some Americans believe local law enforcement has in many cases proved ineffective in bringing the property damage to a halt.
In a new statement this week, the House Freedom Caucus is calling on Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray to intervene in the matter by ramping up the number of arrests and prosecutions for related crimes, the Washington Examiner reports.
“We can acknowledge the necessity of federal intervention when states and local jurisdictions allow the rights of their citizens to be violated, public property to be attacked, vandalized, and destroyed,” said U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who chairs the caucus.
“Immediately begin making arrests”
Biggs made the comments during a press conference on Thursday, and went on to advise Barr and Wray to “immediately begin making arrests of those who are attempting to violate rights and disturb our peace and vandalize our federal property and attacking our private property.”
President Donald Trump has also weighed in on the issue, signaling his intent to issue an executive order bolstering the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. He has threatened lengthy prison sentences for those convicted of destroying a monument or statue on federal property, as Newsweek notes.
Biggs echoed that sentiment in his request for Barr “to charge those arrested and vigorously and immediately prosecute them,” adding his belief that such action “can restore peace and order to this country,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The attorney general has suggested in recent days that suspects are being arrested, though his update came with few specifics. Members of the House Freedom Caucus, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), however, appear to be calling for swifter action.
“You don’t have liberty if you don’t have order,” Roy said, according to the Examiner. “It’s time for the federal government to do its job.”
“Do not understand or know our history”
In a tweet on Friday, the president confirmed that there have been arrests in connection with vandalism in Lafayette Park near the White House and included photos of others identified by authorities as suspects.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2020
Biggs said these criminal acts amount to a “mobocracy” being led by those who seek to “sanitize the symbols of our history” even though they “do not understand or know our history.”
The firm stance endorsed by the president and many Republican lawmakers has received some criticism as the nation continues to experience widespread civil unrest. For many living in communities impacted by the destructive elements in these protests, however, restoring peace and order to the streets cannot come too soon.