It Sure Is A Big Weekend For Sending Violent Right-Wing Extremists To Jail!
On Friday, three members of the white supremacist group Rise Above Movement were sentenced by a U.S. district judge in Virginia to over two years in prison for their part in inciting riots at the 2017 Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville.
RAM founder Ben Daley, along with members Thomas Gillen and Michael Miselis, were indicted in October on conspiracy to violate the federal riots act and to travel from California to Virginia in order to "incite a riot, organize, promote, encourage, participate in, and carry on in a riot, to commit an act of violence in furtherance of a riot, or aid or abet any person inciting and participating in or carrying on in a riot."
They would have been sentenced to more — and RAM founder Ben Daley ended up getting less than the recommended sentence — but the judge did not feel as though the hate crime statute should apply, because they weren't specifically beating people up because they were Jewish or members of another minority group.
The prosecution's case was bolstered by the testimony of one very bad ass bartender who documented Daley bragging about how they were there to assault people and planned to do more of it in the future.
In harrowing footage from Aug. 12, Daley and Miselis can be seen punching, kicking and choking counter-protesters on Second Street in downtown Charlottesville while attempting to gain access to what is now called Market Street Park.
Still images that depict the victims of the attacks were later edited and found on the defendant's phones, one bearing the phrase "THOT STATUS: PATROLLED", using a sometimes misogynistic acronym. Another image of Miselis kicking a man was edited to insert a Star of David over the victim's head.
[Former FBI Investigator Dino] Capuzzo said over the course of his investigation he determined that the RAM defendants had started the violence on Second Street.
Lawyers for all three tried to claim that the three were simply using their First Amendment right to freedom of speech, but that clearly didn't fly. Defendant Michael Miselis' lawyers, however, also tried to argue that he should be let off on account of the fact that the poor thing was socially awkward and had already been punished enough by losing his job as an aerospace engineer for a U.S. defense contractor. That did not fly, either.
Weirdly, on Monday, three other members of RAM — Robert Rundo, Robert Boman and Aaron Eason — had their charges dismissed in a California Federal Court, by a judge who didn't think that showing up and planning to beat people up at a rally was the same thing as planning to start a riot.
Also on Friday, 24-year-old Proud Boy Donovan Flippo was sentence to 8 days in jail, 40 hours of community service and two years of probation for jumping out of his car one day last year and beating the crap out of someone. The terms of his probation ban him from participating in any "mass demonstrations" for the next two years as well.
24? Damn, hate ages you.
The Portland Mercury reports:
According to past interviews and court testimony, [Tim] Ledwith was walking in Northeast Portland when a passenger in a black truck yelled homophobic slurs and pro-Trump phrases out the window, like "Build the wall!" Ledwith said he cursed back at the truck, prompting the driver to pull over.
Flippo, along with 22-year-old Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, jumped out punched Ledwith in the face, causing several cuts that required stitches. Toese, a member of Vancouver, WA's Patriot Prayer, is also facing criminal charges—but has dodged arrest by remaining in American Samoa since the charges dropped in February.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is out here trying to get "Antifa," which is not actually a formal group, designated as "domestic terrorists." Oddly enough, Cruz has literally no problem hanging out with the Oath Keepers, a group of violent nutbars who have previously threatened to kill FBI agents.
Last year, right-wing extremists killed 50 people. Anti-fascist activists have killed zero. So far, the biggest "crime" attributable to these activists has been punching a guy in the face. Is it good to punch people in the face? No! But it is also not "domestic terrorism."
It's almost as if it's not so much that Ted Cruz and the rest of the "Oh my god! We're so terribly scared of Antifa!" crowd are not actually so much opposed to violence as they are delighted for an opportunity to try to smear the left as a whole.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse