For Immediate Release
Federal Law Enforcement Responds to Violent Acts in Old San Juan During Protests
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration are working together with our local partners to investigate the violent acts that transpired last night in Old San Juan.
"We emphasize that peaceful demonstrations are an exercise of the fundamental rights of citizens, but violent acts and destruction of property have no part of a peaceful demonstration, and will not to be tolerated. We are disheartened by the violence that some groups have taken and we will investigate and prosecute anyone who has violated federal law, to the fullest extent of the law," said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, US Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. "We remain vigilant in monitoring the situation and will act immediately, as we have done in other situations when peaceful demonstrations have turned violent."
"The FBI recognizes the public’s first amendment right to protest in a peaceful manner. Nonetheless, the FBI will actively investigate any acts of violence that fall under our jurisdiction and constitute federal crimes in coordination with our law enforcement partners and the US Attorney’s office," said Douglas A. Leff, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI.
"The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives stands with all of our local, state, and federal government partners in Puerto Rico, and will aggressively pursue all violations of law that fall within our jurisdiction," said Ari C. Shapira, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"The right to manifest itself as an exercise of freedom of expression is an inalienable right that has to be respected as long as this exercise does not violate the rights of others," said Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent in Charge of HSI San Juan. "HSI, along with the other law enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico, will be vigilant and will not tolerate violations of federal statutes."
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