House Republicans Open Probe Into Extremist Violence in DC, Demand Answers From Mayor

House Republicans Open Probe Into Extremist Violence in DC, Demand Answers From Mayor
Demonstrators clash with police officers in Washington on Aug. 27, 2020. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)
Masooma Haq

Top House Republicans demanded that Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser take steps to stop and prevent all forms of extremist violence occurring in the name of racial justice.

“You must restore order and peace to the District before the left-wing violent extremism gets further out of hand,” wrote the congressmen in a letter (pdf).

The House Judiciary and Oversight Committee’s ranking members, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and James Comer (R-Ky.) criticized the mayor for not doing enough to stop the "left-wing agitators." The pair want Bowser to produce documents related to the city's handling of the aggressive mobs that recently harassed civilians dining out and Republicans leaving the Republican National Convention after the President’s acceptance speech.

"By your inaction in response to their mayhem, these left-wing agitators have become emboldened to be even more aggressive and more dangerous."

The Republicans noted some recent events in Washington, including the night of Aug. 24 when rioters harassed outdoor diners; Aug. 27 when multiple people who attended President Donald Trump's Republican National Convention speech at the White House were harassed, with some reporting their lives were threatened; and Aug. 29 when police officers were assaulted.

On Aug. 24, Black Lives Matter protesters harassed diners seated outside. A video of the incident shows a protester demanding a restaurant patron raise her fist to show solidarity with Blacks Lives Matter.  Later, Bowser condemned the events and encouraged diners and restaurants to call the police in the future.

"What I saw in those videos was highly inappropriate," Bowser told reporters. "But more importantly, I don't think it had anything to do with demands for social justice."

The congressmen cited 1,500 guests, including well-known Republicans and lawmakers who were departing the White House and were harassed and attacked by protesters on Aug. 27.

Some, such as Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his wife, required police protection, while others like Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) briefly stopped to respond to a group shouting questions and demands to condemn recent high-profile police shootings of black people and support criminal justice reform.

"Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House," Paul wrote in a tweet. "Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob."

Jordan and Comer also pointed to the violent demonstrators' efforts to intimidate Trump supporters by setting up a life-size Trump doll in a guillotine outside the gates of the White House.

In their letter, the GOP lawmakers cited the third night of violence when “on August 29, 2020, rioters set fires, assaulted police officers, and threatened and intimidated residents in the District. Left-wing agitators used lasers in an attempt to blind the police officers seeking to restore order, resulting in the hospitalization of one officer,” the letter states.

Over the weekend of Aug. 29 and 30, five people were arrested in Washington and several police officers were injured after violent demonstrators started fires and vandalized property.

Bowser later said the agitators were outsiders who "came together to create havoc" and were separate from the peaceful March on Washington that took place on the National Mall Friday.

"What we're certainly not going to do is stand by and allow outside agitators to come to our city to distract us from the work of D.C. residents," Bowser said. "We know the President considers himself Mr. Law and Order... We are for law and order, too."

In their letter to Bowser, Jordan and Comer accused the mayor of surrendering the nation's capital to extremists.

"Your choice to surrender the streets of D.C. to violent left-wing extremists and agitators so that they can intimidate, coerce, and assault innocent people places at risk all who live, work, and patronize businesses in the District," the letter said.

Mayor Bowser’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

In conclusion, the Congressmen requested that the Mayor’s office provide documents and communications on the city’s response to the agitators, investigation of the people who were involved in the violence and destruction in the district, and any evidence that they have been paid by a third party.

Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including U.S. government, culture, and entertainment.