Authorities in Austin, Texas, have arrested three members of a Maoist Antifa subsidiary for looting, burglary, and destruction of property at a Target store.
One of the suspects, KVUE-ABC reported, used a Facebook page to encourage support and recruit participants for the raid.
Facebook has not removed the page for the group with which the suspects are affiliated or the one used to promote the attack, which cost the retailer $20,000.
Target Targeted on Facebook
The affidavit released by the Travis County District Attorney says the three suspects were “among a group of 20 to 30 people massing at the front doors to Target,” KVUE reported, and “Austin police ‘knew several of the group members belonged to the former Austin Red Guards, which is a self-identified communist/socialist ANTIFA group’”:
The arrest affidavit stated that Lisa Hogan, 27, of Austin, was streaming a Facebook Live video on the Mike Ramos Brigade Facebook page “urging people to come down to the Target and ‘join us, even if you do not want to loot’.” Austin police said it monitored the Facebook Live from a different location and matched the event with what was being observed in person, according to the arrest affidavit….
Within minutes of the Facebook feed being started, numerous vehicles pulled into the parking lot and the occupants of those vehicles walked towards the front of the Target store…. Officers observed a man, identified as Samuel Miller, 21, of Austin, begin to smash and rip security cameras from the building. Several others began to rip plywood from the doors of the Target store, according to the affidavit….
When members of the Austin Police Department Special Response Team showed up, Hogan and four other members of the protest rapidly walked from the front of the store through the strip center parking lot. APD said officers saw four of the five members get into a black sedan, which was driven by a man identified by police as Skye Elder, 23, of Austin.
Lisa Hogan faces riot and burglary charges, both felonies. Samuel Miller, police allege, destroyed surveillance cameras outside the store and is charged with criminal mischief and burglary. Police charged Skye Elder with burglary. Her bond is $25,000.
The probe involved the FBI and Austin police.
Mike Ramos and Red Guards
The Mike Ramos Brigade Facebook page is named for a man whom police shot and killed in late April. The page calls police “pigs,” and a post about the raid on Target explained that the retailer would get what it deserved.
“Our protest is in solidarity with the people of Minneapolis,” it read. “Target has proudly played a major role in the policing of Minneapolis. The store that was attacked the night people began protesting was treating the community like lab rats to develop more efficient ways of criminalizing the working class and black people. They fund surveillance programs in black neighborhoods in Minneapolis!!” Target Corporation is headquartered in Minneapolis.
The Red Guard page openly advocates violence, a violation of Facebook’s guidelines.
It too calls police “pigs” and celebrated the suicide of a university professor. “Revolutionary” students bragged about driving the man to kill himself with a drug overdose after they learned he had a domestic violence conviction.
“When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror,” a Facebook post about the suicide says.
Facebook’s guidelines “do not allow any organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on Facebook” and say Facebook will “remove content that expresses support or praise for groups, leaders, or individuals” involved in crime, terrorism, or hate groups.
Facebook also “prohibit[s] people from facilitating, organizing, promoting, or admitting to certain criminal or harmful activities targeted at people, businesses, property or animals.”
In a related arrest, KVUE reported, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas charged another “protester” with making and possessing a Molotov Cocktail:
The complaint charges Cyril Laurence Lartigue with one count of possessing an unregistered destructive device. The complaint states that on the evening of May 30, video cameras captured Lartigue making a destructive device in the parking lot directly adjacent to the Austin Municipal Court entrance. While making the device, the complaint states that Lartigue was interrupted by the oncoming presence of Austin police officers heading in his direction.
Lartigue ran, but then returned to get the bomb, and police collared him “inside a portable toilet nearby where he had changed clothes.”
The crime carries a 10-year prison sentence.