Protesters against police brutality have been confronted by armed men in cities across America in recent days, some of whom waved firearms or other weapons, some drove vehicles in bulk, and others – including members of the so-called “Boogaloo Movement” – claimed they had it have come to help anti-racism demonstrations.
On Sunday in Seattle, a man drove toward demonstrators at speed as several demonstrators tried to slow down or stop the vehicle.
One who reached through the car window was shot in the driver’s arm. The driver then got out of the vehicle with a pistol, on which a modified, extra-long magazine could be seen in photos. He moved into the crowd and later surrendered to the police.
However, this was not even the first such incident that day.
In Lakeside, Virginia, an armed man named Harry “Skip” Rogers was arrested for assault and battery after allegedly driving his truck to protesters and hitting a cyclist.
Rogers, reportedly organizer of the National Association for Awakening Confederate Patriots, conducted a one-man protest in Ku Klux Klan robes in 2016 and was part of the Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville in 2017, when protester Heather Heyer was murdered was in a vehicle murder.
Two days after Unite the Right, Rogers, according to photos and reports of activists, got bloody during an argument when he tried to interrupt a commemoration for Heyer while wearing a shirt with Confederate KKK and flag patches.
Other vehicle attacks occurred on May 29 in Bakersfield, California, and the day before in Denver. On May 30, an armed man pulled a gun before driving through a crowd in Gainesville, Florida.
In Minneapolis, a man in a tractor-trailer shared the crowd on an overpass as he headed for them.
Other incidents involving firearms and other weapons have also occurred.
In McAllen, Texas, a lone man threatened Black Lives Matter’s protester with a running chainsaw last Friday, first shouting “Go Home” before calling out racist insults.
In Upland, California, on June 1, a man pulled an AR-15 from his truck, swung it on demonstrators, and was subsequently arrested.
In Chicago, on May 31, a lone man with a semi-automatic rifle and a sidearm pistol was led away from the site of a police protest. In the past, protesters say he pointed the gun at them.
In Boise, Idaho, on June 1, two armed men disguised with skull masks, similar to those preferred by some neo-Nazi groups, protested a local Black Lives Matter march. 19-year-old Michael Wallace was later arrested after the police investigated an accidental discharge of his gun.
A man was arrested in Salt Lake City on May 31 after threatening a crowd of demonstrators with a hunting bow.
Some armed people participating in protests and identified as members of the “Boogaloo Movement” have given the demonstrators a disturbing ambiguity.
So-called “Boogaloo Bois” are members of a relaxed anti-government movement against the government that is concerned with what they believe to be an upcoming second American civil war.
Last week, three former armed soldiers associated with the movement were arrested and charged with an alleged conspiracy to target key national infrastructure.
In general, the subculture is upset about the police and government agencies, which would restrict their access to firearms. But they are divided on several issues, including race politics.
While some passionate white supremacists use the vocabulary and images of the movement – including putting on Hawaiian shirts – others express strong compassion for black victims of police violence.
In protests across the country, some members of the Boogaloo movement have armed to protect businesses from demonstrators, while others are implicitly hostile.
But others claim to support the protests. The Guardian social media material shows some in smaller communities in the Pacific Northwest marching alongside Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
On social media, some of the most popular Facebook pages and groups associated with the movement have celebrated protests against the murder of George Floyd.
A viral social video shows a “Boogaloo Boi” criticizing the brutality of the police and sympathizing with the demonstrators.
But concerns about infiltration and uncertainty about the true motivations of Boogaloo sympathizers have prompted many demonstrators to stay away.
The Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club is a left-wing “Community Defense Organization”, which itself often carries open firearms to defend left-wing protests and is known for trying to engage in dialogue with right-wing militia groups.
Using a messaging app, the spokesman reflected the ambivalence with which many demonstrators view Boogaloo Bois.
“The” Boog Movement “has many bad actors in its ranks who intentionally or accidentally distribute anti-Semitic, racist and QAnon dog whistles, but the movement has also legitimately targeted disillusioned people,” the spokesman said.
When asked how the group and other leftists should react to “Boogaloo Bois” who want to join or support protests, the spokesman said: “We made Boogaloo guys show up at events. We usually watch from a distance because of the risk and the unpredictability. “