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Most arrests during protests are suburban adults not extremists: analysis

Most arrests during protests are suburban adults not extremists: analysis
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Most people who were arrested during nationwide protests of racial injustice and police brutality were young suburban adults as opposed to the left-wing extremists groups that President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE and his allies have repeatedly targeted, an analysis from the Associated Press finds. 

Many people charged were young suburban adults from the neighborhoods that Trump vows to protect from violence, AP reports. Very few people charged appeared to be affiliated with highly-organized extremist groups. 

Some of those facing charges share views that are radical and anti- government, AP found. Some defendants drove to protests from out of state, while others have criminal records and were illegally carrying weapons. Others are accused of using the protests as a chance to steal or create havoc. 

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The police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor set off weeks of protests, and more protests have come in the wake of other police shootings, such as that of Jacob Blake. 

Despite the fact that most protests have been peaceful, Trump has sought to capitalize on “law and order” as a major part of his reelection campaign. He repeatedly paints the protests, which mostly happen in Democratic cities, as violent and lawless. 

“I know about antifa, and I know about the radical left,” Trump said during his NBC town hall last Thursday. “And I know how violent they are and how vicious they are, and I know how they are burning down cities run by Democrats.” 

Yet many protestors have had no previous run-ins with the law and no apparent ties to antifa, a far-left extremist group, AP found in its analysis. In fact, AP only found one mention of antifa in which authorities said it was investigating “suspected ANTIFA activity associated with the protests” when a man fired at officers. They did not claim that the man accused of firing the shots is a member of antifa. 

However, the aggressive handling of protesters continues on; Attorney General William BarrBill BarrClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day Redeeming justice: the next attorney general MORE told federal prosecutors to aggressively charge protesters with crimes, and even encouraged them to charge protesters with sedition. He’s also pushed to detain protesters while they await trials, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee last month that violent extremism cases count for a bulk of the bureau’s work on domestic terrorist threats. While he said antifa “was a real thing,” he labeled it as “more of an ideology or a movement” than an organization. 

Over 40 percent of those facing federal charges are white, at least 33 percent are Black, and about 6 percent are Hispanic, AP found. More than 66 percent are under the age of 30, and most are men. 

More than 25 percent have been charged with arson, which comes with a minimum of five years in prison.