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Attorney General William Barr reportedly told federal prosecutors to consider charging violent protesters with plotting to overthrow the government, if they can prove it.

Barr's advice came as he warned U.S. attorneys general in a call earlier in September that violent demonstrations might worsen as Election Day draws closer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among several federal charges Barr encouraged prosecutors to pursue, he cited the sedition law, a rarely used statute legal experts argue would be difficult to enforce. In order to bring a sedition case, prosecutors would have to look beyond rhetoric and prove there was a conspiracy to attack government officials that posed an imminent danger.

First Amendment protections would also create an additional barrier for the statute to be proved in court.

Jenny Carroll, a University of Alabama law professor, told the Wall Street Journal enforcing a statute such as sedition would send a message that the government is escalating its efforts to quell violence and might lead to hesitation for people to use their right to voice their opinions.

"If you start charging those people, even if you don’t get a conviction, it may make people think twice before going out to exercise their right to free speech," Carroll said.

Federal prosecutors charged more than 200 people with violent crimes related to protests over racial injustice that have gone on for several months.

Most of the charges have been related to incidents of gun crimes, arson, and assaulting federal officers.

Protests, which, at times, have turned violent and into episodes of rioting, began after the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody. More recently, the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, reignited protest activity against police brutality and racial injustice.

News Protests Jacob Blake George Floyd Black Lives Matter Antifa Racism Police William Barr Trump administration Justice Department

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Portland Mayor Warns Far-Right Groups to Stay Away from City as Leftist Violence Dominates

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) warned “far-right groups” to stay away from the city, stating that “intending to intimidate, create fear, commit violence, or spread hate is not welcome here” — However, he has routinely failed to apply the same standard to Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters who have continually inflicted carnage on the city for well over 100 days.

“On Saturday, Sept. 26, a group of far-right extremists and white nationalist groups will be coming to our city,” Wheeler said in a Thursday op-ed after touting Portland as a sanctuary city and beacon of racial justice.

His reference to “far-right extremists” includes the Proud Boys group, although the city reportedly rejected the group’s permit for a noon protest on Saturday, citing coronavirus related concerns.

“They have announced plans to together at Delta Park, the location of the historic Vanport City, which has important historical context. Vanport was created as a temporary housing project to keep Black residents out of Portland,” he continued, noting that the group choosing Delta Park is insulting, whether “intentional or not.”

Wheeler, who has remained remarkably hands-off on the daily violent protests in his city at the hands of Black Lives Matter protesters and Antifa, said some in the right-wing groups “have a record of racism, intolerance, and hate,” which are “not Portland values.”

“They are not welcome. Hate has no home in Portland. Violence has no home in Portland. Anyone intending to intimidate, create fear, commit violence, or spread hate is not welcome here,” he continued.

Notably, Wheeler joined violent protesters in Portland in July but received no accolades from the group, despite his efforts.

The mayor also cited concern for first responders, despite, figuratively, tying their hands in recent weeks after banning the use of tear gas.

“Meanwhile, Oregon’s first responders are stretched to the limit fighting a pandemic since spring and the recent wildfires that raged across our state,” he wrote.

Wheeler did not mention police response to the nightly violent protests, hallmarked by arson, vandalism, and other criminal behavior:

For weeks, fire, police and other public safety agencies have crossed county lines, jurisdictional boundaries, and city limits to keep Oregonians safe from fires that have destroyed entire towns. We have lost hundreds of lives to COVID-19. We don’t yet know how many more Oregonians were killed by the fires. And, we are fighting every day to keep community members employed, housed and safe from the pandemic. The arrival of these groups in our city, along with their organized effort to re-traumatize and inflict fear, particularly on communities of color, puts even more strain on our first responders.

Portland Police declared an unlawful assembly Thursday night after a larger group vandalized the Portland Police Association office, attempting to set its awnings on fire and “hammering the front door of the building, in an attempt to enter the property”:

Police again announcing that this has been declared a #riot. #koin6news #PDX #PortlandProtests #Oregon #PNW #protests pic.twitter.com/yGHcZ05t96

— Jennifer Dowling (@JenDowlingKoin6) September 24, 2020

Fire started outside PPA building. #koin6news #PDX #Oregon #Portland #PNW #PortlandProtests #protest pic.twitter.com/dkyNxEvnMi

— Jennifer Dowling (@JenDowlingKoin6) September 25, 2020

“At 10:25 p.m., a group member was successful in lighting the plywood affixed to the front door of the building on fire,” according to the Portland Police Bureau. Fourteen people were arrested as a result.

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