From AG Mark Herring’s office:
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CALLS FOR FEDERAL RESOURCES TO COMBAT MILITIA EXTREMISM
~Herring sent a letter to the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties detailing the threat of militia extremism in Virginia and around the country and the need for more resources to combat that threat~
|RICHMOND (May 26, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has sent a letter to Representative Jaime Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, calling for more federal resources to combat the threat of militia extremism in Virginia and around the country. Attorney General Herring sent the letter ahead of today’s Subcommittee hearing “Confronting Violent White Supremacy (Part V): Examining the Rise of Militia Extremism.”
“I have been sounding the alarm on the rise in right-wing extremism, white supremacist violence, and militia activity for years – what we are seeing in Virginia and around the country should frighten everyone,” said Attorney General Herring. “Unfortunately, the Commonwealth knows what these individuals and groups are capable of all too well, which is why I felt it was important to add Virginia’s voice and point of view to this important conversation. Federal resources and inter-state communications are key to combating right-wing extremism and militia activity and I hope the subcommittee will seriously consider my recommendations.”
In his letter, Attorney General Herring outlines Virginia’s experience with right-wing and militia extremism by detailing the events of the Unite the Right rally that happened in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, highlighting the annual Gun Lobby Day that flooded Richmond’s streets with heavily armed militia members in 2020, and the wave of “2A Sanctuary City” declarations which localities claimed would be enforced by local militias.
Attorney General Herring explains that “For years I have done everything in my power to warn Virginia citizens, law enforcement, and elected officials that the rise of right-wing extremism was a real, urgent, and growing threat to the safety of our communities and our Commonwealth.” Noting that for “three years in a row [he] introduced legislation that would have further protected Virginians and combated the stark rise in white supremacist violence” that finally passed in 2020 and he also “issued an official opinion making it clear it was illegal for these groups to impersonate a law enforcement officer and purport to be keeping the peace.”
Attorney General Herring concludes his letter by asking the subcommittee to consider:
- Creating incentives for federal and state cooperation in identifying and countering dangerous paramilitary activity
- Treating states as a full partner, sharing information, breaking down information silos, and ensuring that we counter criminal activity before it erupts into large-scale violence
- Allocating more funding for training for law enforcement officers so that they can better handle these kinds of groups
In addition to Attorney General Herring, the attorneys general of Michigan, New Jersey, and Oregon also sent letters to the subcommittee calling for increased federal attention to the continued threat of right-wing extremism.
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