LISTEN: Jacksonville Congressman respond to protests over the weekend

Jacksonville FL — After the protests in Jacksonville this past weekend, WOKV reached out to some of our area lawmakers to get their reaction to what they saw from this past weekend. We talked with Congressman John Rutherford and Congressman Al Lawson to get their reaction and learn if anything can be done at the federal level in reaction to protests over the last week in the wake of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis.

Both representatives say they are disappointed in the peaceful protests turning into chaos over the weekend. Both Congressman Rutherford and Lawson say the chaos was caused by a few bad people who wanted to cause trouble.

In terms of what could be done at the federal level in reaction to the protests, Congressman Lawson says its unclear at the moment what type of legislation could be filed in reaction to the protests, but over the coming weeks there will be conversations with law enforcement officials on what could be done to curb the violence that erupts at these protests.

“When people are coming to the marches with their backpacks full of, uh, spray paint, you know, other different things, big rocks, all this other stuff, they’re coming to do damage.” Congressman Lawson says.

Congressman Rutherford says in the wake of what happened in Minneapolis, one of the best things that can be done at the federal level is to expand the FBI crime reporting and to start forcing law enforcement agencies to come up with data on incidents like what happened in Minneapolis. He says the expanded reporting would give the country a better way of tracking how and where incidents, similar to what happened to George Floyd, are occurring.

“There’s not a single agency in the country, that I know of, that, uh, teaches what I saw.” Congressman Rutherford says.

Both representatives say peaceful protesters can help to keep situations peaceful by helping to identify those who want to make trouble and report them to law enforcement.

Hear both interviews in full below.

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