- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A pair of Republican senators on Wednesday proposed withholding Justice Department grants, including emergency coronavirus funds, from cities and states that do not prosecute individuals arrested for crimes allegedly committed during the George Floyd riots.

Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia unveiled the Holding Rioters Accountable Act of 2020, which would authorize Attorney General William Barr to withhold as much as 10 percent of Justice Department aid in places where protesters were not charged with crimes.

“What were once peaceful protests have turned violent — even deadly,” Mr. Cotton said in a statement. “We should do everything in our power to stop these riots and support local law enforcement.”

The bill would grant Mr. Barr power to pull funds already distributed through the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act and the department’s coronavirus-related funds.

The money would be allocated based on the number of prosecutions pursued and not pursued by local prosecutors, district attorneys, and state attorneys general.

Mr. Barr could remove funds if he determines local officials have “abused the use of prosecutorial discretion by failing to prosecute crimes stemming from riots or other violent or destructive protest activities.”

The proposal would require Mr. Barr to determine whether a prosecution was warranted.

In Portland, local prosecutors dismissed charges against 59 individuals connected to the riots in that city, including some facing felony charges of arson and theft.

“Protestors across the country have thrown rocks through store windows, set fire to construction sites and spray-painted building,” Ms. Loeffler said. “This cannot stand. We need to take action to protect businesses and ensure that those who seek to cause mayhem and damage are held accountable for their actions.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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