Former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions issues statement in response to riots

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Former Alabama Senator and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement on the riots across Alabama.

Protests have happened across the country, sparked by the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Sessions said “The last few nights have made clear that rioters and looters have twisted the memory of George Floyd and have distorted the message of justice from the peaceful protestors and have turned it into an excuse for anarchy, crime, and destruction. George Floyd deserved better.”

Several were held over the weekend, one happened in Downtown Mobile. Several protesters made their way near the I-10 ramp. At one point, a bat went flying in the air — followed by water bottles and profanity-filled chants. The window of a police car was broken. Police dispersed tear gas into the crowd.

Later, protesters gathered at I-65 and Airport Boulevard in Mobile. Mobile police shut down part of Airport Boulevard. Water bottles were thrown at police and tear gas was used again.

A door was broken at the Lowe’s at I-65 and Beltline, police tell News 5 no one went inside the store. Shots were fired around the Walmart and Lowe’s.

FULL STATEMENT:

We must fully understand that these recent destructive riots are not protests, but are indeed riots, driven by anarchists, radicals, and groups that want to destroy our society, not build it up. Too many public officials haven’t understood this fact. They plead, whine, and urge the many good people of their communities to be calm and responsible, but these good people are not the ones burning, cursing, and attacking stores, buildings, and people, civilians and police. The radicals hear the pleas for what they are—weakness, and a signal that swift and violent action can succeed. They are emboldened, and call in outside allies. Violence and destruction increase and spread. The outlaws think that they have the law officers on the run.

Meanwhile, the good police officers under the gun for wrongdoings of others are confused, fearful and demoralized because they doubt they have the support of their officials. This lack of clear leadership, this politically correct policing, is a total disaster. We have seen this movie before. Don’t we know how it ends? This idiocy is devastating. Much of this death and destruction would never have happened if the relevant local and state officials had stood on law and principle.

Americans cannot and will not abide this violence and destruction any longer. If any government official does wrong, every American has the constitutional right to protest and demand justice, but no American is entitled to commit violence or destruction or participate in a lawless mob. The Rule of Law, not the Rule of Mobs, must prevail.

It is enraging to think that at this very moment an American citizen is more likely to be arrested for attending church than for fire-bombing a church, if that person lives in a liberal city or state.

All necessary resources and force must be brought to bear to restore order from the chaos and uphold justice for all. State, local, and federal law enforcement partnerships that I helped rebuild as Attorney General should be activated to identify, pursue, and apprehend dangerous rioters before they strike again. The National Guard and other federal forces should be called on when needed. We must immediately arrest those who burn, loot, and hurt to prevent the violence and destruction from continuing and spreading. The burning of the Minneapolis police station and the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, the murder of an African American federal security officer in California, the injuries to more than 60 Secret Service agents defending the White House, and the countless other assaults on law officers, National Guardsmen, first responders, business owners, and innocent bystanders are not just attacks on people and property, they are direct attacks our system of justice and our commitment to be a Nation of Laws.

The last few nights have made clear that rioters and looters have twisted the memory of George Floyd and have distorted the message of justice from the peaceful protestors and have turned it into an excuse for anarchy, crime, and destruction. George Floyd deserved better. Fortunately, security cameras and the widespread use of smartphones provide us with substantial evidence that can be used to bring the rioters to justice. State, local, and federal enforcement agencies across the country should commit to using all of their investigative resources to identify and prosecute the criminals depicted in those videos and images of assaults, destruction, and looting over the past few nights. Every one of them must be brought to justice. And elected officials must commit to supporting that good work, not continuing to encourage the riots through leniency.

George Floyd’s tragic death does not justify these acts of murder and mayhem. President Trump is right: these rioters are acting as terrorists and should be treated as such.

We have developed great cross-jurisdictional law enforcement partnerships between our sheriffs, police, state troopers, and federal agencies. Together, we should “flood the zone” and target, remove, and vigorously prosecute these rioters and criminals as soon as unrest begins. This strategy, conducted with overwhelming and combined numbers and force, would quell these riots before they engulf whole communities and spread further. We cannot allow our police forces to be outnumbered or overrun when facing these kinds of violent hordes.

Violent, destructive mobs cannot be allowed to rule our streets one minute longer. It must end now!

Jeff Sessions

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