EXCLUSIVE – The Justice Department on Thursday announced charges against more than 300 people who allegedly committed crimes since the end of May “under the guise” of peaceful protests, Fox News has learned.
"Through these acts, these individuals have shown minimal regard to their communities and for the safety of others and themselves."
Hundreds of people were arrested in 29 states and are accused of federal crimes ranging from attempted murder, assault on a law enforcement officer, damaging federal property and arson, the Department of Justice said.
"Violent opportunists have exploited these demonstrations in various ways," a Justice Department press release said.
Forty of the 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices nationwide have filed federal charges "committed adjacent to or under the guise of peaceful demonstrations," according to the agency.
Of the more than 300 people arrested, roughly 80 were charged with crimes involving arson and the use of explosives.
In one incident in Virginia Beach, a man allegedly said he would set fire to a church frequented by Black people, the report states. In another case, this one in Washington, D.C., a man suffered severe burns after he became engulfed in flames shortly after pouring “a liquid from a gas can onto three U.S. Supreme Court Police vehicles,” the agency said.
A federal arson conviction carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
A man in Portland allegedly attacked a U.S. Marshal deputy with a baseball bat in his neck, back, and shoulder after approaching him from behind. Meanwhile, in the only other case outside of Oregon, a man in Boston fired 11 bullets at federal and local law enforcement officers, the DOJ said.
Any person convicted of "felony assault of a federal officer with a dangerous weapon" faces a maximum sentence of 20 years.
About 15 people were charged with allegedly damaging federal property, the department said. Meanwhile, 30 others were hit with charges linked to civil disorder.
"In some instances, these individuals are alleged to have set fires to local businesses as well as city and federal property, which will regrettably incur millions of taxpayer dollars to repair damages to the Portland Courthouse, Nashville Courthouse, Minneapolis Police Third Precinct, Seattle Police East Precinct, and local high school in Minnesota; and, to replace police cruisers in South Carolina, Washington, Rhode Island, Georgia, Utah, and other states," the release states. "Through these acts, these individuals have shown minimal regard to their communities and for the safety of others and themselves."