Since late May and early June, violence has erupted in leftist cities around the country and the Department of Justice has wasted no time indicting and arresting violent rioters.
U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that David Elmakayes, 24, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged by criminal complaint with malicious damage of property with an explosive device and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The defendant is currently in federal custody and will make his initial appearance in federal court today. The government will be seeking the defendant’s detention pending trial on these charges.
The complaint alleges that on June 3, 2020, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Elmakayes used an explosive device to heavily damage an automated teller machine (ATM) on the sidewalk at 217 East Westmoreland Street in North Philadelphia. When he was arrested a short time later, he had three more explosive devices in his possession, as well as a .32 caliber pistol.
“Blowing up an ATM and illegal firearms possession are not acts of protest against perceived injustice. They are federal felonies and will be treated as such,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “As alleged, Elmakayes tried to take advantage of the unrest in Philadelphia to get away with a violent crime. Now he will face the consequences.”
Also in Philadelphia:
U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, 33, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been charged by criminal complaint for the arson of two Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) vehicles.
The defendant is currently in federal custody and had her initial appearance in federal court yesterday. The government will be filing a motion for the defendant to be detained pending trial.
Following peaceful protests in the early afternoon of May 30, 2020, in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, civil unrest began to unfold later that afternoon in Philadelphia that resulted in widespread looting, burglary, arson, destruction of property, and other violent acts.
On that day, two vehicles, one PPD sedan (number 2514) and one PPD sport utility vehicle (number 1612), were parked on the north side of City Hall in Philadelphia. During the violent episodes that began around City Hall that afternoon, Blumenthal allegedly set fire to both vehicles. According to the complaint, various videos taken at the scene captured the defendant wearing protective goggles and gloves, taking a flaming piece of wooden police barricade from the rear window of the PPD sedan that was already on fire, and then shoving the flaming wood into the PPD SUV that was not on fire. Within minutes, the PPD SUV was also completely engulfed in flames. As a result of the fires, both PPD vehicles were destroyed.
“We at the U.S. Attorney’s Office fully support the First Amendment right of the people to assemble peaceably and to petition their government. But torching a police car has nothing to do with peaceful protest or any legitimate message. It is a violent and despicable act that will be prosecuted in this district to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Anybody who engaged in such acts can stand by to put your hands behind your back and head to federal prison. We are coming for you.”
In Las Vegas, where a police officer was shot and paralyzed from the neck down:
A federal grand jury indicted Stephen T. Parshall, aka “Kiwi,” 35, Andrew Lynam, 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, all of Las Vegas, for violations of federal law for conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas and possession of an unregistered destructive device, specifically, a so-called “Molotov cocktail.”
According to allegations contained in the criminal complaint and indictment, Parshall, Lynam, and Loomis claimed to be members of the “Boogaloo” movement, a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society. From April 2020 to May 30, 2020, the defendants conspired to damage and destroy — by fire and explosives — buildings and property owned by the U.S. Government, as well as a public utility installation. On May 30, the defendants possessed Molotov cocktails to throw at police in downtown Las Vegas, during a protest connected to George Floyd’s death.
If convicted, Parshall, Lynam, and Loomis each face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive; and ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possession of unregistered firearms. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only. If convicted of any federal offense, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced a federal criminal complaint against Bryce Michael Williams, 26, charging him with conspiracy to commit arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct. Williams, who was arrested on June 16, 2020, made his initial appearance earlier today before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
According to the allegations in the complaint, on the night of May 28, 2020, the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct was overrun and heavily damaged due to vandalism and arson. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) identified multiple separate fires had been started in the building. Investigators were able to identify Williams in surveillance video footage from the Third Precinct. Williams, wearing a mask, a baseball cap, and a hooded sweatshirt, can be seen in the video standing near the entrance of the Third Precinct holding a Molotov cocktail while other individuals attempt to light the wick.
According to the allegations in the complaint, ATF investigators also reviewed videos that were posted on Williams’s TikTok account on May 28 and 29, 2020. In one of the videos, Williams can be seen standing in front of the burning Third Precinct building wearing clothing consistent with the clothing Williams was wearing in the Third Precinct surveillance video. In another video, Williams’s face is clearly visible and he appears to be in close proximity to the Third Precinct building.
In Oakland, where Federal Officer David Underwood was murdered:
At a press conference held this morning at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Oakland, California, the Department of Justice announced that murder and attempted murder charges have been filed against Steven Carrillo, the alleged gunman in the May 29, 2020, drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of Protective Security Officer David Patrick Underwood and injuries to a second security officer. The Department of Justice also announced aiding and abetting charges against Robert Alvin Justus Jr., the driver of the vehicle from which Carrillo is alleged to have attacked the guards.
“Liberty flourishes in the rule of law,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “Indiscriminate targeting of law enforcement officers by those motivated by violent extremism of any stripe is contrary to our nation’s values and undermines the powerful message of peaceful protestors. The Department of Justice stands in support of all Americans exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceable assembly and speech but we stand firmly against anyone who seeks to hijack the protests with acts of violence and destruction.”
On Monday night, violent anarchists attempted to build an "autonomous zone" outside of the White House in Lafayette Park. They also tried to tear down a statue of President Andrew Jackson, vandalized St. John's Church for a second time and lit a series of fires in the streets. As a result, President Trump called for additional prosecutions and protection of federal monuments.