GOP congressman falsely claims there have been no riots in Republican-led cities

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Rep. Ralph Norman is the latest Republican to claim violence at protests is unique to Democratic areas.

South Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman claimed Thursday that there have been no riots in six major cities led by Republican mayors or governors. He was wrong about all six.

"The map of the United States tells the tale of two parties: Where are the riots? In major cities such as Jacksonville, San Diego, or Oklahoma City, governed by Republican mayors? No." Norman wrote in an opinion piece published by the Washington Examiner. "Did protests turn into riots in places such as Charleston, Salt Lake City, or Houston, all of which are governed by Democratic mayors but Republican governors? No again."

Without evidence, he asserted that "one could argue the greatest predictor of violent unrest is long-term Democratic governance."

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But in the aftermath of the May police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis, all six of the cities Norman named have seen arrests, violence, looting, or destruction related to riots surrounding anti-racism protests.

In Jacksonville, Florida, several law enforcement officers and protesters reportedly clashed on May 30. "They attacked several police officers. They vandalized several police cars, attempting to light them on fire, breaking windows," Sheriff Mike Williams told a local paper. "We have one officer who was stabbed — was slashed in the neck and is currently at the hospital."

In San Diego on May 31, more than 100 people were arrested and police deployed tear gas and flash-bang grenades against protesters, according to local news, as law enforcement officials were pelted with rocks and water bottles and looters robbed city stores.

Over that same weekend, Oklahoma City reportedly saw rioting too. "We're not putting up with lawlessness here," said Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater in June as he charged protesters with felony counts of assault, rioting, and terrorism.

There was reportedly looting, vandalism, and burning of businesses in Charleston, South Carolina as well, with Police Chief Luther Reynolds announcing at least 10 arrests on May 31.

Rioting in Salt Lake City on May 30 reportedly included vandalism around the state capitol, a flipped police car, 41 arrests, and 21 law enforcement officers requiring medical treatment.

And in Houston, local police reportedly made more than 100 arrests on May 30 after protests and riots. The city's Galleria shopping mall was closed the next day after looters smashed the windows of one of its stores.

Norman's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. But he is not the only Republican suggesting that racial tensions are only boiling over in Democratic jurisdictions.

Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed "Democrat cities" for undermining "law and order." His administration has claimed that these areas are not "Donald Trump's watch," even though he promised in January 2017 that the "American carnage" of poverty and crime in inner cities would immediately end.

On Wednesday, Trump ordered his administration to look into stripping federal funding from any place it deems an "anarchist jurisdiction."

"My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones," read a five-page memo issued by Trump. "It is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America's cities."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.