The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has penned an open letter addressing Mayor Muriel Bowser, who accused the regional Department of Justice (DOJ) office of being reluctant to prosecute outstanding arrest warrants.
Bowser’s remarks came during a press conference on Monday, following last weekend’s clashes between police and racial justice protesters.
“Mayor Muriel Bowser’s public statement today related to the United States Attorney’s Office reluctant to prosecute ’68 outstanding arrest warrants’ is patently false and serves no purpose other than to pass blame and foster innuendo,” said the office of Michael Sherwin, acting US Attorney for DC, in the letter.
“Since the protests began, this Office has never turned down a single case for prosecution in which there was sufficient evidence to support probable cause.”
Bowser’s office released a letter in response to the statement, where the mayor claimed Sherwin’s office declined to prosecute 41 of the 42 rioting arrests made on August 13 and 14.
According to Bowser’s letter, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has submitted 63 affidavits in support of arrest and search warrants related to “criminal activities conducted under the guise of First Amendment assemblies” since May 30, and 28 of them have been rejected by the DOJ office, while 24 are pending review.
“This mirrors a disturbing pattern we have also identified in homicide cases, where our records reveal 18 warrants that are currently pending with your office awaiting action,” Bowser wrote.
The DOJ says it has charged 121 individuals between May 28, 2020 and August 1, 2020, in relation to protest-related violence around the city. Five people also face charges brought by the DOJ over their involvement in violent acts during last weekend’s protests.
At Monday’s news conference, Mayor Bowser said that her government would not tolerate “violence of any kind” in DC.
“We don’t tolerate it if it’s on the streets between rival crews and we won’t tolerate it against our police officers, the men and women who are charged with keeping our community safe. And we certainly won’t tolerate it against our residents and visitors,” she said.
Bowser also blamed much of the protest-related violence on “outside agitators.”