Release Date:  June 1, 2020
Contact:  Michael Rushford
(916) 446-0345

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The rioting and destruction which has swept through dozens of U. S. cities since the tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week have been aggravated by sentencing policies that have flooded communities with criminals, according to the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.

“The criminals on video breaking into businesses and setting fires in Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Long Beach, and Sacramento weren’t protesting Mr. Floyd’s killing. They were taking advantage of the orchestrated protests to commit property crimes that are barely punished anymore,” said CJLF President Michael Rushford.

The group suggests that two developments over the past several years have helped transform these protests into riots:

1.) The expansion and funding of community activist groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa, headquartered in large urban centers, which are capable of marshaling tens of thousands of protesters in cities across the country within 24 hours. Antifa then dispatched its storm troopers to set fires and commit assaults, elevating the protests into riots.

2.) Sentencing reform laws which have reduced the consequences for commercial burglary, auto theft, and drug offenses and required the early release of thousands of criminals serving time for those crimes, often in spite of prior convictions for violent offenses.

“During the current pandemic, to protect criminals from getting the virus, states such as New York and California have eliminated bail for those arrested for property and drug crimes, requiring their release shortly after arrest,” said Rushford. “This has left tens of thousands of repeat offenders in communities looking for opportunities to commit crimes. The George Floyd protests, turned violent by outside agitators, provided a perfect opportunity for these criminals.”

CJLF Michael Rushford is available for comment at (916) 446-0345.