FBI arrest members of white nationalist group on charges of intent to incite violence
Authorities are still searching for Aaron Eason, 38, in connection with violence that took place at political rallies in three California cities.
White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters as they enter Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally on Aug. 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file
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Authorities arrested three white nationalists on charges of intent to incite violence at political rallies throughout California and are still looking for a fourth.
Members of the white nationalist group Rise Above Movement, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, allegedly traveled to three different cities in California with the intention to incite violence at 2017 political rallies, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Wednesday. Robert Boman, Tyler Laube, and Robert Paul Rundo were arrested over the last week by the FBI. Authorities are still searching for Aaron Eason, 38.
The men used the internet to coordinate "combat training," travel and attendance at political rallies in Berkeley, Huntington Beach and San Bernardino last year, according to the indictment. They also allegedly planned to celebrate their violence in an effort to recruit more members.
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“Every American has a right to peacefully organize, march and protest in support of their beliefs — but no one has the right to violently assault their political opponents,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a press release.
Several members of the Rise Above Movement, or RAM, attended a "Make America Great Again" rally in Huntington Beach in March last year holding signs that read “Da Goyim Know," a Semitic phrase. Rally attendees attacked journalists and began fights with counter protesters. Laube, 22, was captured on camera attacking a journalist, according to a criminal complaint.
"Rundo then turned to the second counterprotestor punched him in the back of the head, grabbed the back of his neck, and threw him to the ground, landing on top of him," the criminal complaint reads. "Rundo then held the counter-protestor down with his left hand and threw several punches at the counter-protestor’s head while other RAM members looked on, cheered, and prevented others from intervening, as depicted in the screenshot below."
The men then celebrated the coverage of their violent acts online and planned their next trip to a rally in Berkeley, where they encouraged participating members to attend "hand to hand and formation fighting training," according to the complaint. Boman, 25, then allegedly posted to his social media pages a photo of him punching counter protesters in Berkeley.
Rundo, 28, and other RAM members attended an “Anti-Islamic Law” rally in San Bernardino in June and again committed violent acts. Authorities believe Rundo, 28, created a video of RAM members training to serve as a promotional effort for the group.
Boman and Laube are expected to appear in court on Wednesday. Rundo has been detained in federal custody pending his trial.
Four other RAM members were arrested earlier in October in connection to violence that broke out at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year. The men allegedly flew from California to Virginia and "assaulted an African-American man, two females and a minister wearing a clerical collar" at the event. Those members were each charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the federal riots statute and one count of violating the statute.
Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.