Rizer: “Carpetbagger” rioters are part of the problem; Climate could spark off riots elsewhere
Arthur Rizer, a national security expert for R Street, a D.C.-based think tank, says that conditions are right for riots to spark off in other cities and that some of these protests could be incited by organized carpetbagger rioters as has been seen in the Kenosha protests.
Rizer maintains that these “carpetbaggers” are more concerned about burning down communities than protesting for a cause. Several of the protestors arrested overnight Sunday in the Kenosha riots were from Illinois.
“These people don’t give a shit about these communities,” he told the Kenosha Reporter. “When you are not protesting in your own backyard you don’t give a shit what you are burning down. Some people just want to watch things burn.”
Rizer said the rapidity with which the group gathered was indicative of the times with riots occurring throughout the country, even in Portland and Denver as well this past weekend.
“That is quick for civil unrest to start especially with intensity,” Rizer said. “It is like a fire in a forest after you’ve already had a fire. There is still kindling around. We didn’t need for the water to boil, the water was already at a simmer. It just took a little to nudge it over the line.”
Rizer is the director for Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties and Resident Senior Fellow with the R Street. He worked as a patrol officer in Washington State and spent 21 years in the Army deployed to Falujah to train the Iraqi Special Forces Division where he received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service and Iraq Campaign medals. Rizer retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army, WV National Guard. He is in his final stages of a doctorate from Oxford University focusing on policing.
Within hours of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., protests turned violent with destruction of property and looting lasting well into the night.
It was announced today that Blake was paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by eight bullets in the shooting.
Rizer maintains that these carpetbaggers – people who go from community to community inciting violence and rioting – are far more organized than any grassroots protests arising from the shooting.
“They have perfected the way they do this, they have it down to a science,” Rizer said. “They don’t have to build their email cache, it is already there.”
Rizer said while the right to peaceful protest should be preserved, he is quick to point out that rioting is not peaceful protesting.
“I think protesting is great, we should support that,” Rizer said. “Rioting is bad.”
Still, Rizer sympathizes with those angered by the current law enforcement climate.
“Rioting is the language of these who are hurt, but it is still bad,” Rizer said.
The former police officer said a public dialogue on the topic is needed.
“We need have to start having serious conversations about police culture in this country or you aren’t going to get anywhere,” Rizer said. “You can’t be pro-police and not expect excellence from policeman. I think we can be pro-police and love our cops and respect out cops and still expect excellence.”
Rizer said the Kenosha video was disturbing on both sides.
“I saw the video,” Rizer said. “I am not going to pretend to know what happened, but it looked really fucked up. It totally looked like (Blake) was being a jerk and being disrespectful. But (police) are not allow to shoot people because you are scared.”
Following two nights of unprecedented unrest, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has called in the National Guard to assist with the unrest in Kenosha and Milwaukee.