As a House Select Committee probes the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a big majority of voters also want an in-depth probe of the more than 8,700 riots and protests across the country last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, a new Rasmussen survey finds.
According to the survey of 996 likely voters, 66% say Congress should investigate the civil unrest last summer that resulted in at least 574 violent riots that involved looting, arson, and assaults on local police officers, injuring some 2,000 sworn officers. A margin of error was not disclosed for this poll.
Twenty-one percent said Congress should not investigate the summer’s civil unrest and 13% said they were not sure, according to the survey.
Violence nationwide erupted on May 26, 2020, after Minneapolis resident George Floyd died in police custody, at the hands of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
A viral video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes sparked civil unrest in Minneapolis and other major cities, lasting the entire summer.
According to an October report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, representing the 68 biggest cities, 8,700 protests took place between May 26 and July 31 alone, and while most were peaceful, 574 ended in with violent acts of looting, arson and physical assaults on police officers.
''Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the 8,700 protests were either peaceful or involved non-violent acts of civil disobedience, there were groups and individuals that sought to exploit the protest environment in many cities and engage in violence,'' the report said. ''An estimated 7% of the protests (574 of the 8,700 protests) involved violence.''
The largest percentage of violent riots were in Denver, Colorado, with 68%, Portland, Oregon, with 62%, and Columbus, Ohio, with 63.8%, the report said.
The violence resulted in 2,385 incidents of looting, 624 incidents of arson, 97 police cars burned and 2,037 officers injured.
Some 16,241 people were arrested during the protests, with 2,735 of that number being for felony charges, with an average of 239 arrests per each of the 68 agencies.
More than half of district attorneys in those cities, however, decided not to prosecute the cases, with 53% telling the association that they dismissed the charges.
About the same number of agencies, 52%, reported arresting the same person more than once for a protest-related incident.
In 61 of the 68 cities, 90% discovered people from out of state participating in the protests, and 29% discovered protesters that were being paid.
Three-quarters of the agencies, 53 of the 68, identified as self-proclaimed far left extremists, while 35 of 68 identified as far right-wing ideology extremists.
In the Rasmussen poll, 63% of voters said that those participating in the violent protests should have been prosecuted, with 23% saying they should not have been, and 15% saying they were not sure.
The numbers are about the same for the more than 500 people arrested for being involved in the Jan. 6 riot, with 60% saying they should be prosecuted, 26% saying they should not, and 14% not sure, according to the poll.
Another 68% of those surveyed said that the lack of prosecutions during the protests led to more crimes being committed as the riots continued.
The National Police Association blamed both political parties for the summer’s escalating violence.
''Many elected officials of both parties and at all levels followed up, not by apologizing to their citizens for failing to uphold the law, but by accusing police officers of systemic racism, being in need of reform, reimagining and defunding,'' said spokesperson for the National Police Association, Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith.
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