As Trump blames antifa, protest records show scant evidence

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In a photo taken Friday, June 5, 2020, Scott Nichols, aka Amazing Scott, a local balloon artist, poses for The Associated Press in his balloon shop in Minneapolis. Nichols doesn’t consider himself very political, but when George Floyd died, he felt compelled to join the protests which happened to be a few blocks from his home. He was arrested during one of the protests and spent 48 hours in jail before he was released. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has characterized protesters who are clashing with law enforcement in the wake of George Floyd’s death as radical-left thugs engaging in domestic terrorism.

And some Democrats, including Minnesota’s governor and the Minneapolis mayor, tried at first to blame out-of-state far-right infiltrators for the unrest. But there’s scant evidence either is true.

The Associated Press analyzed court records, employment histories, social media posts and other public sources of information for 218 people arrested last weekend in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., two cities at the epicenter of the protests.

The records show more than 85% of those charged were locals, and few appeared to have any affiliation with organized groups involved in the protests.

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