Bill Barr says BLM protesters should be charged with trying to overthrow US government

BILL Barr has told prosecutors to charge Black Lives Matter protester with trying to overthrow the government, it was reported.

The US Attorney General also compared the intrusion into civil liberties imposed by the coronavirus lockdown to slavery.

Barr has urged federal prosecutors to be more aggressive when charging violent demonstrators.

That includes potentially prosecuting them for plotting to overthrow the U.S. government, the Wall Street Journal reports.

More than 200 people have so far been charged with violent crimes related to the protests under the umbrella of the Black Lives Matter protests, which stemmed from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Most of them have faced counts of arson, assaulting federal officers, or gun crimes.

Anti-police brutality protests in places such as Kenosha have descended into violence while Portland, Oregon, has seen on-going disturbances for several weeks, including attacks on federal buildings and police.

In conference call with US Attorneys last week, Barr reportedly warned that violent demonstrations across could get worse as the November presidential election approaches.

He urged them to seek federal charges whenever possible, two people familiar with the conversation said.

The AG listed a number of additional statutes they could potentially use, including one addressing conspiracies or plots to overthrow the government.

But legal experts have warned that to bring a sedition case, prosecutors would to prove there was a conspiracy to attack government agents or officials that posed an imminent danger, the WSJ says.

There is a fine line between expressing anti-government views, which could be protected under the First Amendment even they included discussions of violence, and a plot that presented an imminent danger.

Jenny Carroll  – a law professor from the University of Alabama – said using statutes like sedition would mark an escalation in the government’s effort to he violence.

“If you start charging those people, even if you don’t get a conviction, it may make people think twice before going out to exercise their right to free speech.”

Meanwhile in a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan, Barr said state governors were using their executive powers to “defy common sense” and prevent citizens and businesses from going back to work.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest,” he said, to a round of applause, CNN reports.

“Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

Barr said “most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do” which is “treat free citizens as babies that can't take responsibility for themselves and others”.

The AG  argued “we have to give business people an opportunity, tell them what the coronavirus lockdown rules are” and “then let them try to adapt their business to that”.

Then “you'll have ingenuity and people will at least have the freedom to try to earn a living, he said.

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