Three ex-servicemen, who are suspected members of the far-right 'boogaloo' movement, were arrested on May 30 on charges of trying to incite violence at a George Floyd protest rally in Las Vegas. The three men, who were also booked for the possession of unregistered firearms, were former members of the U.S. Army, Navy and the Airforce.
The document filed by the federal prosecutors described the 'boogaloo' movement as a "term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society". According to the Washington Post, firearms-bearing boogaloo members have taken part in George Floyd protests in several cities, including Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas and Atlanta. Members of this group are identified by their Hawaiin shirt and firearms.
The three men, Stephen T. Parshall (35), Andrew Lynam (23) and William L. Loomis (40), all from Las Vegas, were arrested on Saturday and each of them is facing two federal charges: conspiracy to damage and destroy by using fire and explosives and possession of unregistered firearms, Business Insider reported. Each of them is held on $1M bond and will be produced for a preliminary hearing on June 17.
According to the charge document, the trio discussed "causing an incident to inside chaos and possibly a riot" at a George Floyd protest. An FBI informant had infiltrated the group to foil their plans. At first, they planned to "firebomb" a power substation to distract the law enforcement officers so that they could incite a riot. But they dropped the plan and decided to use Molotov cocktails at a Black Lives Matter protest.
As per the document, they wanted to use the "momentum of the George Floyd's death" to cause "enough confusion and excitement" that the protesters would "see the two explosions and police presence and begin to riot" out of anger, NBC News reported. Their plans were foiled and the FBI SWAT team arrested them on May 30 at the protest in downtown Las Vegas.
Lynam and Parshall came under FBI's radar in April on suspicion that they would carry out a terrorist attack. Loomis came under attention in May. They were also a part of a Las Vegas rally to reopen the U.S. economy, where one of them said that the group "was not for joking around and it was with people who wanted to violently overthrow the United States government".
Protests over the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year old African American man, by four white police officers in Minneapolis has led to massive protests against racism and police brutality. On several occasions, the protests turned violent, with reports of vandalism, arson, looting and heavy-handedness being reported.