- Three self-proclaimed members of the far-right “boogaloo” movement were held on domestic terrorism charges after federal prosecutors accused them of trying to spark violence during police brutality protests in Las Vegas.
- The “boogaloo” movement was defined in the charging document as “a term used by extremists to signify coming civil war and/or fall of civilization.” The three men previously served in the US Navy, Army, and Air Force, according to the filing.
- Each defendant was charged with conspiracy to damage and destroy by using fire and explosives, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
- According to the filing, the men in late May discussed “causing an incident to incite chaos and possibly a riot” in response to George Floyd’s death.
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Three former US servicemen and self-proclaimed members of the far-right “boogaloo” movement were arrested on domestic terrorism charges and accused of carrying unregistered firearms and trying to spark violence during protests against police brutality.
According to the charging document, which was reviewed by Business Insider, the three defendants previously served in the US Navy, US Army, and US Air Force.
The filing also noted that the men “self-identified as part of the ‘Boogaloo’ movement,” which prosecutors described as “a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or fall of civilization.” According to the Associated Press, all three men are white.
According to the Clark Country Detention Center records, Stephen Parshall, 35, Andrew Lynam Jr., 23, and William Loomis, 40, are each being held on $1 million bond. A preliminary hearing will be held on June 17.
According to the federal filing, each defendant faces two federal charges, including conspiracy to damage and destroy by using fire and explosives, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
Federal prosecutors say the men planned to sow discord at protests in Nevada in early April. They first assembled at a rally to reopen the US economy in Las Vegas, where, according to the filing, one of the men said the group “was not for joking around and that it was for people who wanted to violently overthrow the United States government.”
The filing stated that all members of the group possessed firearms, including “pistols and rifles, including variations of AR-15’s.”
It also alleged that the three men met several times in May to discuss targeting multiple places to place an “economic burden on businesses and the government.”
Late last month, according to the filing, the men discussed “causing an incident to incite chaos and possibly a riot” in response to George Floyd’s death.
Floyd was a 46-year-old black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death has sparked nationwide protests in over 300 cities as demonstrators call for an end to systemic racism and police brutality against black men.
The defendants “wanted to use the momentum of the George Floyd death … to hopefully stir enough confusion and excitement, that others see the two explosions and police presence and begin to riot in the streets out of anger,” the filing said.
According to the filing, on May 29, the men attended a Las Vegas protest in response to Floyd’s death. They allegedly carried rifles during the protest; one of them “taunted police by getting in their face and yelling at them”; and when another defendant became upset “that protests were not turning violent,” he attempted to provoke the crowd into rioting.
The three defendants were arrested on May 30, as they prepared to use explosives at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Las Vegas.
Trump and Republicans push false claims about far-left activists sparking riots but refuse to condemn right-wing extremists
The arrests come as President Donald Trump and his allies urge law enforcement officials to crack down on the protests and accuse “antifa” – a loosely organized far-left group of anti-fascism activists – of sparking violence during the demonstrations.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz compared antifa to terrorists and asked to “hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East.” And Sen. Tom Cotton also compared protesters to “Antifa terrorists” and advocated for “no quarter” for them, a military term meaning that even a combatant who lawfully surrenders should be killed. The practice is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
Despite Trump and Republican lawmakers’ allegations against antifa related to the protests, according to NBC News, there is little evidence so far to support their claims.
The Nation also reported on Monday, citing an internal FBI situation report, that the bureau has “no intelligence” indicating antifa was linked to violence in anti-racism protests that took place on Sunday, which Trump blamed on the group.
But the FBI’s report did warn that people associated with a far-right social-media group had “called for far-right provocateurs to attack federal agents” and to “use automatic weapons against protesters.”
Politico also reported on Monday that a Department of Homeland Security intelligence note warned law-enforcement officials that a white supremacist channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram encouraged its followers to incite violence to start a race war during the protests.
Citing the FBI, it said that two days after Floyd’s death, the channel “incited followers to engage in violence and start the ‘boogaloo.'”
One of the messages in the channel called for potential shooters to “frame the crowd around you” for the violence, the note said, according to Politico.
On May 29, the note said, “suspected anarchist extremists and militia extremists allegedly planned to storm and burn the Minnesota State Capitol.”
NBC News also reported on Monday that Twitter had identified a group posing as an “antifa” organization calling for violence in the protests as actually being linked to the white supremacist group Identity Evropa.
Twitter suspended the account, @ANTIFA_US, after it posted a tweet that incited violence. A company spokesperson also told NBC News that the account violated Twitter’s rules against platform manipulation and spam.