Law/Justice

Tracking federal and non-federal cases related to Summer-Fall 2020 protests, riots, & uprisings

  The Prosecution Project

Since the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by Minneapolis police and the resulting waves of protests nationwide, tPP has fielded many requests to help provide a count of resulting felony cases. The early summer protests, riots, and sporadic uprisings resulted in over 10,000 arrests nationwide. The FBI later expanded that number to more than 13,600 (as of June 6, 2020). We have spoken with journalists, academic researchers, attorneys, community and prisoner support organizations, and many others.

tPP is focused on tracking felony cases of socio-political crime and violence, so many of these arrests likely fall within our project’s inclusion criteria. tPP tracks all types of ideological motives to study political violence. In this case, while the majority of cases are of demonstrators, some represent violence directed at demonstrators, or seemingly unrelated crimes described by State authorities (e.g., the DOJ, ATF) as ‘protest-related.’ Some of these cases will likely be excluded from our data set, but while they develop, we will continue to follow them. For example, we are including several federal cases where defendants are charged with only misdemeanors. Although this will disqualify them for later inclusion in the tPP dataset, we are including them to currently to assist those trying to track federal prosecutions.

Some have asked, ‘Why does the data set contain far-right crimes mixed in with those from demonstrators?’ Simply put, we seek to track all manners of political violence, regardless of ideology. Cases are eventually measured and coded on the basis of a defendants’ motive, ideology, etc., but in establishing these cases for preliminary tracking, we are simply asserting that the crimes have:

    • a.) a socio-political motive, and/or,
    • b.) the federal government has labeled the crime ‘protest-related,’ ‘related to the civil disturbance,’ ‘riot cases, (see below)’ or through the use of other language which links the crime to the protests.

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