Two men charged with conspiring to incite violence and civil unrest at protests over the killing of George Floyd previously sought to do the same thing at protests against coronavirus lockdowns, in both instances seeking to promote their extremist agenda, federal prosecutors say.
Federal agents arrested the men, Stephen Parshall and Andrew Lynam, along with a third man, William Loomis, before they allegedly planned to disrupt a Black Lives Matter protest in Las Vegas. They face federal charges of conspiracy and possession of unregistered firearms and multiple terrorism-related state charges. Prosecutors say the men had planned to use firebombs and explosives to create chaos and panic that would lead to riots. The men are being held in the Clark County jail on $1 million bond each.
According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Nevada, all three, who are white and have U.S. military experience, “self-identified as part of the ‘boogaloo’ movement,” a disparate yet growing collection of extremists, including far-right militias, radical gun rights activists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. As noted in the criminal complaint, “‘Boogaloo’ is a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or fall of civilization.”
The arrests and the details of the investigation leading up to it offer perhaps the most concrete evidence to date of the role extremists may be playing in some of the violence and destruction during otherwise peaceful protests over the past two weeks. And it sheds new light on how such groups or individuals have sought to exploit other events to advance their agenda of bringing down the U.S. government, leading, in some versions of the ideology, to the creation of a white “ethno-state.”