Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Monday introduced legislation "to put a stop to violent looting, vandalism, arson, and destruction of property and small businesses."
The Holding Rioters Accountable Act of 2020 would grant authority to the U.S. Attorney General to reduce certain U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ) grants and funding to jurisdictions where state and local prosecutors are abusing prosecutorial discretion and failing to prosecute crimes arising from riots and other violent protests.
Senator Loeffler said, “In too many cities across our country, peaceful protests have turned into riots, leaving a trail of destruction to private property and federal buildings. Small businesses already hurting from the pandemic have had their hard work and livelihoods destroyed as rioters have smashed and looted.
"In many cases, local officials and prosecutors have turned a blind eye and allowed the chaos to continue. In Portland, a local prosecutor dismissed charges on 59 individuals connected to the riots, including nine cases involving felony charges such as arson and theft. Protesters across the country have thrown rocks through store windows, set fire to construction sites and spray-painted buildings. 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. The legislation I have introduced today will help restore order and keep Americans’ lives and livelihoods secure.”
Senator Cotton said, “What were once peaceful protests have turned violent - even deadly. We should do everything in our power to stop these riots and help support local law enforcement.”