A rightwing extremist boasted of driving from Texas to Minneapolis to help set fire to a police precinct during the George Floyd protests, federal prosecutors said.
US attorney Erica MacDonald said on Friday that she has charged Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old Texas resident, with traveling across state lines to participate in a riot. The charges are the latest example of far-right extremists attempting to use violence to escalate national protests against police brutality into an uprising against the government, and even full civil war.
The case also reveals the extent of the coordination between violent members of the nascent far-right “Boogaloo Bois” movement operating in different cities across the country.
According to the complaint, Hunter sent multiple private messages on Facebook bragging of his actions in Minneapolis on the night of 28 May and morning of 29 May, writing, “I set fire to that precinct with the Black community,” and, “My mom would call the FBI if she knew.”
Video shot that night shows a person later identified as Hunter firing 13 rounds from a semiautomatic assault-style rifle on the 3rd precinct police station while people believed to be looters were inside. He then high-fived another person and shouted, “Justice for Floyd!” according to the complaint.
Later, he privately messaged Steven Carrillo, another alleged “Boogaloo Boi” in California, urging him to “go for police buildings”, according to the federal criminal complaint.
“I did better, lol,” Carrillo allegedly replied.
Hours before Carrillo sent that message, according to the complaint, federal prosecutors say Carrillo had driven to Oakland with an accomplice, and, as protesters were demonstrating blocks away, shot two officers guarding a federal courthouse in downtown Oakland, killing one, David Patrick Underwood.
Carrillo was later charged with killing another law enforcement officer, a Santa Cruz sheriff’s deputy, in an ambush attack in June.
Police in Austin, Texas, stopped a pickup truck, in which Hunter was a passenger, on 3 June for multiple traffic violations. Hunter had six loaded magazines for a semiautomatic rifle in a tactical vest he was wearing. Officers also found multiple firearms in the truck.
Several days after the stop, federal agents learned of Hunter’s online affiliation with Carrillo. MacDonald said Hunter made his initial court appearance on Thursday in San Antonio, Texas. It is unclear if he has an attorney.
This is a developing story. More details soon