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Conservatives like to compare Black Lives Matter protesters to insurrectionists attempting to overthrow the U.S. government. A recent guilty plea involving a Minneapolis Police station struck major holes in that comparison.
At the end of September 2021, Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 27-year-old Texan, pleaded guilty to firing bullets into a Minneapolis Police station last year during protests in the city over the police lynching of George Floyd.
Floyd’s choking death on May 25, 2020 at the hands of disgraced former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin launched a mass uprising on the scale of the 1960s civil rights movement. Chauvin has since been convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Court documents state Hunter drove from his home in San Antonio to Minneapolis to participate in a riot, according to Kare 11 News. It cited the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Minnesota in its report.
About the Boogaloo Bois
Hunter, a member of the far-right Boogaloo Bois, admitted to shooting off 13 rounds from an AK-47-style, semi-automatic rifle into the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct station on May 28, 2020. It took place as others were still in and around the precinct, which had been set on fire by protesters.
Boogaloo Bois started out as a meme in white supremacist and anti-government chat rooms in the early 2010s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups across the nation.
The SPLC notes that in recent years, the group has become synonymous with neo-Nazi groups who want “to see society descend into chaos so that they can come to power and build a new fascist state.”
Video footage captured Hunter yelling “Justice for Floyd”, mimicking Black Lives Matter protesters, according to the Kare 11’s report. Organizers from Minneapolis to Tulsa, Okla. had warned that white supremacists were infiltrating peaceful protests in order to agitate violence.
Conservatives compare violent, white supremacists to Black Lives Matter protesters
Last September, twice impeached former President Donald Trump’s own acting homeland security chief admitted that white supremacists played a major role in urban violence across the country.
Former Chief of Homeland Security Chad Wolf attributed violence to both “white supremacist extremists” and anarchist extremists,” Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, the protests in Minneapolis over Floyd’s death divulged into looting and arson in some areas. However, 93 percent of Black Lives Matter protesters across the nation were peaceful, according to data from The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).
Still, that hasn’t stopped conservatives in Congress from making false equivalencies between racial justice protesters and those wanting to bring down the U.S. government.
“You can moan and groan, but he was far more explicit about his calls for peace than some of the BLM and left-wing rioters were this summer when we saw violence sweep across this nation,” Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said about Trump. He made the comments ahead of a House vote to impeach Trump over the Jan 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Conservatives aligned with neo-Nazi and confederate groups organized a “Stop the Steal” rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building as legislators were certifying President Biden’s election win.
Gaetz, who has his own problems to deal with, tried to compare Americans wanting equal justice under the law with Americans seeking to violently reshape society in their own image.
BLM wants fair democracy, white supremacists want fascism
Yet, separating fact from fiction paints a different picture. To date, no Black Lives Matter organizer has been convicted of killing anyone. Meanwhile, the storming of the U.S. Capitol resulted in the deaths of five people, including several U.S. Capitol Police officers. It also left nearly 140 law enforcement officers injured.
Not only are the motivations behind Black Lives Matter protesters and white nationalists polar opposites, the results of their actions diverge significantly as well.
Black Lives Matter protesters support democracy, while neo-Nazis want fascism. BLM seeks to successfully persuade Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and other crucial bills. Insurrectionists are willing to violently overthrow their own government in order to create a society forever dominated by White people.
Moreover, the difference in consequences for the two groups’ action have been laid bare for the nation to see. Mostly Black and young, BLM protesters faced felony charges and million dollar bonds across the country for protesting against police brutaliy. Meanwhile, the vast majority of insurrectionists face only misdemeanor charges. It’s another indicator that the law isn’t colorblind.
Law enforcement was able to arrest Hunter for his actions in Minneapolis after he posted about it on social media. Officers stopped him while he rode passenger in a vehicle in Texas that was pulled over for numerous traffic violations. Authorities found Hunter wearing a tactical vest with six loaded magazines for an assault rifle. They also found other weapons and eventually connected Hunter to the Boogaloo movement, which seeks to create a race war.
Meanwhile, Trump has advised former advisor Steve Bannon and others to not comply with a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan 6. insurrection.
“Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation,” Budowich said, according to the Post.
It’s unclear what the future of the nation holds when a significant chunk of the U.S. population believes an overthrow of the U.S. government is more patriotic than Americans seeking equal justice under the law.