Federal Criminal Laws Applicable to Rioting, Property Destruction, and Related Conduct [June 11, 2020] [open pdf - 659KB]
From the Document: "In the days after George Floyd was pronounced dead following his arrest by Minneapolis law enforcement officers, widespread demonstrations and protests occurred in dozens of American cities. News accounts have described the majority of that activity to have been peaceful, and such activity is beyond the scope of this Sidebar. However, some cities also experienced rioting, property destruction, and related activity. For example, news reports have documented incidents of individuals throwing fireworks and other objects at police officers, vandalizing property, and setting fires. There have also been reports of looting. [...] In the aftermath of Floyd's death, on May 30, 2020, Attorney General William Barr stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would prosecute those who violate federal laws applicable to rioting. DOJ has already brought a variety of charges for such conduct that occurred following Floyd's death. Although state criminal laws likely govern much of the rioting and related activity described above, given the interest expressed by some Members in the incidents surrounding and following the death of George Floyd and Congress's ability to legislate in this area, this Legal Sidebar examines some of the federal criminal statutes that may be relevant to rioting, property destruction, and related conduct. Specifically, this sidebar discusses, in order: (1) The Anti-Riot Act, (2) the 'civil disorder' statute, (3) arson and explosives statutes, and (4) statutes proscribing certain conduct with respect to federal property."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10493
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/