President Donald Trump is among those who have claimed that Antifa and similar extremist groups played a substantial part in transforming legitimate, peaceful protests into riots and lawlessness over the past two weeks.
The mainstream media establishment has dismissed those suggestions, but the district attorney in Austin, Texas just announced the arrest of three Antifa members for their roles in the looting of a local Target store, the Washington Examiner reported.
That Target store was broken into and ransacked by a group of 20 or more individuals on May 31 after anti-police demonstrations in Austin over the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis spiraled out of control.
Criminal charges announced
According to a June 6 press release from Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore, “The three people arrested are known members of a local anti-government group, which is a self-identified communist/socialist ANTIFA group.”
The three arrested were identified as 23-year-old Skye Elder, 27-year-old Lisa Hogan, and 22-year-old Samuel Miller. All three have been charged with burglary of a building and are being held on $25,000 bond each.
In addition to the burglary charge, Hogan has been charged with rioting, as she was revealed to have live-streamed the looting of the store and to have encouraged others to take part in the criminal act. Miller also faces a charge of criminal mischief, as he was revealed to have destroyed the surveillance cameras on the outside of the building as part of the looting.
“While I fully support the rights of freedom of speech and assembly, I cannot tolerate the subversion of peaceful protest by engaging in wanton destruction and theft,” Moore said in a statement. “These arrests are important to protecting not only the property owners, but, even more importantly, the peaceful protesters whose message should be heard.”
Collaborative law enforcement effort
The district attorney was joined in condemning the lawless conduct by Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, who said in the statement, “These acts of vandalism and looting will not be tolerated. We appreciate the partnership with our local and federal partners in apprehending these suspects and bringing them to justice.”
As the Examiner noted, and Chief Manley indicated, that while the district attorney was the one who identified the suspects as members of Antifa, and the local police were responsible for their arrests, federal agents also played a role in identifying, locating, and apprehending the anti-government activists.
Christopher Combs, FBI Special Agent in Charge in San Antonio, said in the statement, “The violence, threat to life, and destruction of property we have seen in Austin and other parts of the country, jeopardizes the rights and safety of all citizens, including peaceful demonstrators.”
“We thank members of the public and encourage them to continue sharing information, photographs, and videos of individuals engaged in violent and unlawful activities,” the FBI agent added. “With the cooperation of our community and partnership with law enforcement, we will hold those pursuing their violent agendas accountable.”
The media can try to ignore or downplay the increasingly obvious fact that Antifa was very much involved in the violence and destruction that rocked dozens of American cities, but hopefully fewer and fewer Americans will actually believe that narrative, as members of the group continue to be arrested and charged for their crimes.