(Reuters) - Three Las Vegas men alleged to be part of the extremist Boogaloo movement have been arrested and charged with planning to cause violence and destruction during protests in the city over the police killing of George Floyd.
The men, who police said had a homemade bomb or Molotov cocktail in their possession when they were taken into custody on Saturday, all live in the Las Vegas area, the region’s joint terrorism task force said on Wednesday.
“Violent instigators have hijacked peaceful protests and demonstrations across the country, including Nevada, exploiting the real and legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death for their own radical agendas,” said Nicholas Trutanich, the U.S. attorney for Nevada.
Boogaloo is “a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society,” the Joint Terrorism Task Force said in its news release Wednesday.
The men - Stephen T. Parshall, known as “Kiwi,” 35; Andrew Lynam, 23; and William L. Loomis, 40; all of Las Vegas - face federal charges of conspiring to cause damage with explosives, possession of unregistered firearms and state terrorism-related charges.
The arrests come as law enforcement agencies struggle to keep the peace in the aftermath of Floyd’s death on May 25, as protesters took to the streets across the U.S. While leaders in numerous cities have said that peaceful protests turned ugly because outsiders encouraged looting and burning arrest records in some cities show that most of those arrested live locally.
A senior Justice Department official said Wednesday that members of the loosely organized left-wing anti-fascist groups known as Antifa have been involved in violent incidents in at least two states.
Some of the violence is driven by opportunistic looters who started out as peaceful protesters, and some is driven by hardened criminals who are taking advantage of the situation, said the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Leslie Adler