MINNEAPOLIS — The Boogaloo Bois, a group of government and law enforcement-hating armed people, have been showing up at protests and demonstrations across the country, including in Minnesota.
Benjamin Teeter from North Carolina, one of two men now charged in federal court with conspiring to help a foreign terrorist organization, posted video, photos and messages from the looting that happened in downtown Minneapolis in August.
"Right now police are blocking off every entrance they can to downtown Minneapolis trying to isolate the protesters there," Teeter said in one post. "We need to get the word out so every Boojahideen in the area so they can respond appropriately to this situation."
The FBI, according to the criminal complaint, had been tracking Teeter and co-defendant Michael Solomon from New Brighton since late May during the unrest that followed the death of George Floyd.
When Solomon gave an in-depth interview about the Boogaloo Bois to the Star Tribune in July, posing with a gun, the FBI already had recorded him and Teeter talking about possibly shooting officers and blowing up a historical county courthouse in Northern Minnesota with dynamite, according to the criminal complaint.
"It's a movement that is first and foremost anti-government," said Jason Blazakis, director of the Center of Terrorism Extremism and Counter-Terrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies "They, from my perspective, are the most threatening of the movements that exist right now. They want to create chaos. They are are anti-government. And that chaos would lead to some kind of civil war."
In one Twitter post on August 26, that's exactly what Teeter writes, "I am a left Anarchist. We want a war against the government. We want all citizens on the same side."
Blazakis said the Boogaloo movement is a far-right extremist movement, with some far-left beliefs.
"You have individuals who say they are left-wing in the sense they are against capitalism. They are against the government in many ways," he said.
Blazakis sees the Minnesota case as turning point of how far Boogaloo Bois are willing to go.
The court papers say the defendants wanted to create a training compound for Boogaloo Bois, and to get the money, they willing to build firearm suppressors for an undercover agent they thought was a member of the terrorist group Hamas.
"I think it demonstrates their willingness to work with anybody to achieve their objectives," Blazakis said.
The federal charges the defendants face carry up to 20 years in prison.