Member of Far-Right Group Accused of Firing on Minn. Police Station During George Floyd Protests
Two days after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a Texas man affiliated with a far-right anti-government group allegedly signaled his intention to show up and capitalize on the unrest.
"72 hours out," wrote Ivan Harrison Hunter, 26, of Boerne, Texas, in response to a Facebook call by another member of the Boogaloo Bois, which is described as "a loosely connected group of individuals espousing violent anti-government sentiments," according to a federal complaint. "Headed to Minneapolis today," Hunter posted privately elsewhere on Facebook.
During an overnight protest on May 27 and 28, Hunter then joined in, allegedly firing an AK-47-style semiautomatic rifle 13 times at the Third Precinct police station while people were inside, and then looting and helping to set fire to the building -- an act about which he later boasted on social media, according to the complaint that charges Hunter with interstate travel to incite a riot.
Captured on video, the suspect who was dressed in tactical gear and a skull face mask "then walks toward the camera [after firing the gunshots], high-fives another individual and yells 'Justice for Floyd!,'" according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities say a "cooperating defendant" identified Hunter as that individual.
The charge makes Hunter the third member of the Boogaloo Bois to be charged in Minneapolis with provoking violence that otherwise had been blamed on Black Lives Matter protesters advocating for social justice in the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death, reports the Star Tribune.
"The term 'Boogaloo' itself references an impending second civil war in the United States and is associated with violent uprisings against the government," the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release announcing Hunter's arrest last week.
“I helped the community burn down that police station,” Hunter wrote on Facebook after the incident in Minneapolis, the complaint alleges. “I didn’t’ [sic] protest peacefully Dude … Want something to change? Start risking felonies for what is good.”
On June 11 he wrote: “The BLM protesters in Minneapolis loved me [sic] fireteam and I,” referencing a “fire team” group that authorities say “responds with violence if the police try to take their guns away,” according to the complaint.
Hunter was arrested Wednesday in San Antonio, and made his first court appearance there on Thursday, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for Minnesota. It was not immediately clear if he'd entered a plea or retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.
The Boogaloo Bois have been under FBI investigation since late May of 2020, based on information that its members were discussing committing violent crimes "and were maintaining an armed presence on the streets of Minneapolis during civil unrest following the death of George Floyd," said the attorney's office.
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According to the Justice Department: "[U]pon returning to Texas, Hunter made various statements on social media describing the violence in which he engaged in Minneapolis."
"On June 3, 2020, officers with the Austin Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a pick-up truck for numerous traffic violations. Hunter was one of three occupants in the vehicle. Hunter, the front seat passenger, had six loaded magazines for an AK-47 style assault rifle affixed to a tactical vest he was wearing," the department said.
"Officers found three semi-automatic rifles on the rear seat of the vehicle, one loaded pistol in plain view next to the driver’s seat, and another loaded pistol in the center console. Several days after the traffic stop, federal agents became aware of Hunter's online affiliation with Boogaloo Bois member Steven Carrillo, who has been charged in the Northern District of California with the May 29, 2020, murder of a federal protective service officer in Oakland, California."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.