An 18-year-old from Heiskell, Tennessee was charged Monday with inciting a riot and civil disorder for his involvement in a May 30 riot in downtown Knoxville.
According to WVLT, a group of 50 to 100 people gathered in Market Square around 11:30 p.m. on May 30 to commit acts of vandalism as unrest spread across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
A federal criminal complaint filed Monday against Dominic Brown states that the 18-year-old posted messages on his Snapchat account that were intended to incite and organize a riot at the West Town Mall in Knoxville.
“We are not each other’s enemy only enemy is 12,” Brown said in one post. The number “12” is a slang term that refers to law enforcement officers.
Brown made two additional posts with maps of the interior of West Town Mall.
“If we get 300 people we can raid the mall and everything in there,” he said.
According to the complaint, Brown also posted instructions to others and updates of his own preparations for the riot via his Snapchat account. He told his fellow rioters to wear masks, and bring hammers and bricks.
The complaint also alleges that Brown picked up a trash can lid filled with an unknown liquid and hit a law enforcement officer in the head while the officer was seated in a police vehicle.
“The United States Attorney’s Office supports the right of American citizens to gather in peaceful protest,” U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey said in a statement. “However, we will uphold the rule of law in this community and will take swift action against those who seek to hijack the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd to engage in violent criminal activity.”
FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Joseph Carrico said “violence, the threat of violence, and destruction of property jeopardizes the rights and safety of all citizens, including peaceful demonstrators.”
“The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. That includes the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment freedoms,” he added. “We will remain steadfast in our mission to protect the American people from those whose intent is to sow discord in our communities.”
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