Mike Hurst and Chad Lamar, United States Attorneys for the Southern and Northern Districts of Mississippi, respectively, and Michelle Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jackson Field Office, announced today that their offices have been working with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies throughout Mississippi to protect our communities from violence and destruction while preserving the rights of citizens to freely speak and assemble per the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution during this time.
In a statement on Sunday, May 31, 2020, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr noted that federal law enforcement resources would be available to assist state and local leaders in their efforts to ensure peaceful protests and to reestablish law and order. Attorney General Barr said that federal resources will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have taken over peaceful protests and are engaging in violations of federal law.
“What happened to George Floyd in Minnesota was heartbreaking and a travesty, but I am proud of the way Mississippians have responded by exercising their First Amendment rights peacefully. We will continue to protect people’s constitutional rights to speak and assemble. But I want to be very clear – we will not hesitate to prosecute those who break our laws and cause harm and destruction. Law and order will be maintained coequally with the lawful exercise of individual liberties. We took an oath to support and defend the American people and the Constitution, and we will continue to do just that,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst.
“Recent events have hurt and scarred our nation and people have every right to be angry,” remarked U.S. Attorney Chad Lamar. “We share the anger and disgust felt across our Country and the World. People understandably want their voices to be heard in the continued fight for justice and we support that right. We are thankful that so many Mississippians have come together to seek and promote justice in peaceful and productive ways. But, please continue to do so peacefully. As we scratch and claw our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing we need is more violence and further loss.”
“The FBI will continue to utilize all of our resources and partnerships, both law enforcement and community, to ensure protection of First Amendment rights and the protection of our communities,” said SAC Sutphin.
U.S. Attorney General Barr stated on Saturday, May 30, 2020, that the tragic events surrounding George Floyd’s death in Minnesota were being addressed swiftly through the regular process of the criminal justice system, both at the state and federal levels. Local charges have already been brought against a former Minneapolis police officer, and the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI are also conducting an independent investigation.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years