Abstract: The Boogaloo movement, which coalesced online in late 2019 and manifested offline in 2020, has quickly evolved into a significant domestic violent extremist threat. It has also proven to be deeply challenging for online monitoring and evaluation due to its adaptive use of memes and coded language that blurs the lines between irony and incitement. Offline, a disrupted violent plot in Nevada targeting a racial justice protest, acts of accelerationist-inspired violence in California, and attempts in Minnesota of material support to a foreign terrorist organization underscore the gravity of the diverse threat the Boogaloo movement poses—and the need to take it seriously. The Boogaloo movement has resonated within the United States’ domestic extremist landscape through appeals to the nation’s revolutionary origins. And an accelerationist faction within Boogaloo has sought to instigate decentralized insurrectionary violence. As a big-tent movement with the ability to quickly adapt its messaging, its presence, fractured or not, will likely continue in 2021 and beyond.

January 2021 marked one year of overt, offline Boogaloo movement activity in the United States by the movement’s members, often referred to as the “Boogaloo Bois.”a The movement has gained national notoriety in that time, due as much to its eclectic aesthetic of colorful Hawaiian-themed apparel as its connection to disrupted violent plots—namely, the attempted kidnapping of a sitting U.S. governor.1 In 2020, members of the movement were accused of plotting to use Molotov cocktails during a Black Lives Matter protest, conspiring to materially support Hamas, and murdering law enforcement personnel.2

The rapid evolution of the Boogaloo from niche internet forum meme to mainstream mobilization narrative in hardened violent extremist milieus suggests it presents a unique security challenge for both social media companies and U.S. law enforcement agencies going forward. The Boogaloo movement’s ambiguous, broad framing of American revolutionary ideals cloaks an inherent message of necessary violence against the U.S. government as a perceived authoritarian threat. This article will examine the history of how the Boogaloo movement arrived at its current state, detail the movement’s embrace of insurrectionary violence offline, provide a brief forecast of the movement, and suggest responses to the threat.

The Appeal of the Boogaloo Movement
Boogaloo memes circulated online as early as 2012, before finding traction in 4chan’sb weapons and politics boards around the topic of a second American civil war.3 By the fall of 2019, the memes’ use had spread with purpose across Facebook, Twitter, Discord, and Telegram messaging platforms, often seeded from established white supremacy, anti-government, and accelerationist spaces.c In 2020, offline Boogaloo mobilization, including acts of violence, markedly increased in response to a series of culturally divisive topics—gun control laws, social justice protests over law enforcement use of force, coronavirus public health lockdowns, and the 2020 presidential election.4 Despite its modern eclectic styling, the Boogaloo’s aesthetic and narratives have struck a resonant chord with sections of American society looking for an alternative to hyper-partisan politics against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty and existential fears related to the COVID-19 pandemic.5 It also draws on established extremist milieus, creating defined strains within the Boogaloo movement: white supremacists, neo-Nazis, militia movement members, accelerationists, and ultra-libertarians, among others.6

In this article, the authors suggest that the Boogaloo is best conceptualized as a decentralized, anti-authority movement composed of a diverse range of actors mobilized in part by adherents’ belief that they are following in the footsteps of the United States’ founders and participating in a revolution against tyranny.7 Myth-driven violent and insurrectionary Boogaloo factions aim to usher in or respond to societal collapse, specifically through threats and targeted violence against law enforcement personnel and government figures.8 For many anti-government organizations, as well as the Boogaloo Bois, law enforcement agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) represent quintessential government abuse of natural rights. As states have expanded legal means to temporarily confiscate firearms of individuals who pose a threat to the public, that animus has shifted to state and local law enforcement agencies for their role in enforcing those laws.

Moreover, the consistent narrative focus on contention with the current political system and perceived institutional failures allows unlikely partnerships, coalitions, and conflicting ideologies to coincide in one movement. The movement’s eclectic branding has broad appeal and can be quickly adapted to accommodate nearly any condition of perceived injustice stemming from government action or policy.9 This includes local Boogaloo efforts to align with Black Lives Matter demonstrators angered at law enforcement. However, despite some elements of the Boogaloo milieu loudly proclaiming support for Black Lives Matter surrounding police shootings and seeking partnerships with local Black Lives Matter chapters, the authors’ analysis showed these coalitional engagements to be limited in both scope and presence geographically, and frequently rejected by local Black Lives Matter chapters.d

The Boogaloo movement’s broad appeal stems from a set of abstract virtues, or ideographs, that are deeply familiar to many Americans: liberty, rejection of government abuses, and disgust at authoritarianism.10 Boogaloo’s corrupted conceptualization of these ideographs is largely manifested through a crowdsourced myth-building in the form of memes, and derive political and moral legitimacy by tapping into (and distorting and hijacking) the United States’ founding narrative of a struggle against tyranny.11 e Furthermore, the Boogaloo has rapidly incorporated current events into its mobilization efforts, drawing disparate interests into one broad river targeting a perceived tyrannical system.f And despite varied paths to the Boogaloo milieu and the ideological differences within it, Boogaloo adherents largely maintain alignment over political grievances such as over gun control measures—particularly through the use of so-called red flag lawsg—as well as “no-knock” raids and law enforcement use of force against unarmed citizens.12 These shared grievances both feed off of and add to the existing Boogaloo mythos that firearms and violent revolution are the only remaining solution to combat perceived tyranny or accelerate societal collapse.13 In addition, the mythos primes the targeted audience with the belief that insurrectionary violence or civil war are not only imminent, but inevitable and necessary.14

The Role of Social Media
In each stage of the Boogaloo’s evolution, social media has served as a means of narrative dispersion, a collective myth-building space, and an organizing point for networks dedicated to violent offline activity.15 As online Boogaloo activity became increasingly linked to acts of offline violence, social media platforms first took action in May 2020 to limit Boogaloo search results, halt algorithm recommendations of Boogaloo groups, and ban “the use of Boogaloo and related terms when they accompany pictures of weapons and calls to action.”16 Despite these efforts, Boogaloo activity proved to be particularly adaptable, and largely kept ahead of content moderation actions.17 Under increased scrutiny, Boogaloo social media groups, pages, and accounts altered their names (such as “Big Igloo” from Boogaloo) and created back up presences and advertised alternative platform options (e.g., Telegram) in anticipation of bans. The authors’ research found that Boogaloo members adjusted their own behaviors by cloaking calls to violence with inside jokes and memes and leaned on existing anti-government narratives to amplify their newly established vernacular. In doing so, the nascent Boogaloo movement displayed its adaptive nature.

Analysis by the authors has revealed that while some Boogaloo groups adapted and modulated positions on violence in anticipation of bans, others followed in the footsteps of their extremist contemporaries and migrated to Telegram,18 where their activity increasingly overlapped with accelerationist, radical firearms communitiesh and survivalist-themed Telegram channels.19 This further exacerbated the insurrectionary nature of Boogaloo narratives. On June 30, 2020, Facebook belatedly conducted a strategic network disruption against a specific network of Boogaloo accounts, pages, and groups under its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.20 In its announcement, Facebook noted that “this network uses the term boogaloo but is distinct from the broader and loosely-affiliated boogaloo movement because it actively seeks to commit violence.”21 In total, Facebook removed “220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 Pages and 106 Groups” and “400 additional groups and over 100 other Pages for violating our Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy as they hosted similar content as the violent network.” At the same time, Facebook claimed to have removed 800 Boogaloo posts that violated its policy regarding Violence and Incitement.22

In June 2020, Discord also took considerable action, removing a Boogaloo server for “threatening and encouraging violence” and “deleted the accounts of all 2,258 members” of the server.23 A fallback subredditi for the Discord server was subsequently removed by the messaging platform Reddit.24 The authors found that fallbacks and carbon copies became a regular occurrence in the digital Boogaloo ecosystem, particularly as violent offline incidents with connection to the Boogaloo movement became more frequent and group members expected ‘censorship.’ Individuals interested in the Boogaloo used social media to meet like-minded individuals, find groups to join, and establish networks; those who wanted to discuss violence and/or engaging in violent acts gradually moved their revolutionary desires into private chats.25

At Boogaloo’s online apogee, hundreds of Boogaloo-branded groups, chats, and pages operated liberally, though diversely, across social media platforms with some larger groups and pages containing tens of thousands of followers.26 Boogaloo memes, which resonate with more than just niche extremist audiences, found fertile ground on Facebook, Twitter, and encrypted communications platforms like Discord and Telegram.27 Examples of popular Boogaloo-styled memes include anti-government, anti-law enforcement, and anti-ATF motifs, which draw on pre-existing narratives surrounding events such as Ruby Ridge, Waco, and other local efforts of resistance to federal government authority.28

With Facebook and Discord’s content moderation efforts, Boogaloo meme presence fell considerably on the platforms, though the authors’ research showed they can still be readily found on Twitter and Telegram. As the movement’s evolution progressed, debates over the future of the movement ignited, particularly over its portrayal by the media as racist, and focused around the role of violence, and potential coalitional partnerships with the Black Lives Matter movement.29 Additionally, some Facebook groups and pages belonging to Boogaloo sympathizers explicitly sought to commercializej the Boogaloo aesthetic, through the exploitation of specific ‘martyr’ figures such as Duncan Lempk as well as the promotion of merchandise branded with Boogaloo imagery and memes. More concerningly, some Boogaloo movement members reportedly began purchasing illegal 3D-printed firearms components that were advertised on Boogaloo-themed Facebook pages.30

Identification with the Boogaloo movement and aesthetic is both a pathway into and an evolution away from traditional anti-government mobilization. Social media and contemporary internet forums such as 4chan have played a central role in that dynamic for the Boogaloo movement. Low entry barriers to Boogaloo ‘membership’ allow new demographics to latch onto what for them is a comfortable and relatable corner of Boogaloo culture, which enables established Boogaloo influencers to mold or leverage external groups’ narratives to their purpose and designs.31 Unlike counterparts such as the Proud Boys, and based on what is known from court records and primary source review, Boogaloo ‘membership’ largely exists as an informal function of individual and clique-based organizing and is not a product of movement-wide initiation rituals. Additionally, the authors’ analysis revealed that leadership roles in the Boogaloo movement are often nebulous and limited to self-declared leadership of cliques and local organizing that frequently overlap with established militia and libertarian networks. While the Boogaloo ideology is not yet fully formed, the nascent movement’s memes, iconography, and ideographs resonate heavily with the more established militia movement and libertarian milieu.32

In recent months, the authors’ analysis found a growing presence of Instagram and YouTube Boogaloo “influencers” leaning into private security and gun manufacturing motifs and doing so with fewer explicit references to Boogaloo aesthetics (e.g., Boogaloo flags, Hawaiian shirts, co-opted patriotic and Revolutionary War symbols). In addition, the authors detected an increasing presence of Three Percenters and Oath Keepers branding alongside Boogaloo narratives, as well as a growing number of Boogaloo members with a fondness for Russian and Eastern European firearms manufacturers.33 True to its adaptive nature, the Boogaloo movement appears to be evolving both online and offline.

A group tied to the Boogaloo Bois holds a rally as they carry firearms at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on October 17, 2020. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Offline Mobilization and Violence
Offline Boogaloo mobilization surged in 2020, as its members mobilized ostentatiously, both peacefully and violently, largely in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and COVID-19 lockdown measures.34 During each mobilization, Facebook’s online spaces played a pivotal role in connecting disparate individuals with varying backgrounds and ideologies.35 This nexus of online networking and offline mobilization breathed renewed vigor into this faction of the American anti-government, anti-authority movement.

The first prominent instance of organized offline mobilization by members of the Boogaloo movement came during Virginia’s January 2020 Lobby Day in Richmond, where thousands of Americans organized by Second Amendment groups gathered in opposition to potential state gun control legislation. Armed in defiance of Governor Northam’s emergency order, a hodgepodge of more than 22,000 individuals made their opposition to Northam’s proposed gun control legislation known.l

Among those gathered in Richmond were armed extreme far-right activists, militia members, as well as the now familiar sight of heavily armed, Hawaiian shirt clad individuals affiliated with the Boogaloo movement, at least some of whom believed the day might result in the opening scenes of a new American civil war.36 While the unique wardrobe choice raised eyebrows, offline mobilization of individuals self-identifying with the insurrectionary strain of the Boogaloo movement would continue throughout 2020, often in situations of civil unrest and with the purported goal of inciting violence to accelerate societal collapse—though not always clad in the distinctive attire.37

The first and only lethal act of domestic terrorism attributed to members of the Boogaloo movement brought national attention to the fledgling offline group, and evidenced the capabilities and intent of accelerationist Boogaloo actors to commit acts of targeted violence in the homeland.38 On the evening of May 29, 2020, a drive-by shooting targeted Federal Protective Service (FPS) officers outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Oakland, California.39 The alleged perpetrators, Steven Carrillo and Robert Justus, Jr., shot and killed one FPS officer and wounded a second.40 m The government alleges that Carrillo, then an active-duty member of the United States Air Force assigned to Travis Air Force Base,n met Justus in Boogaloo-themed Facebook groups.41 The criminal complaint notes that in a Facebook exchange with Justus and another user on May 28, Carrillo posted, “It’s on our coast now, this needs to be nationwide. It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois. Keep that energy going.”42 o

Following his surrender to law enforcement, Justus is alleged to have made statements to federal law enforcement that suggest the pair arranged to meet on May 29 “for Carrillo to give Justus a ride to protests that were taking place in Oakland.”43 Justus also allegedly indicated that he drove the white van used in the shooting, and that Carrillo had instructed him to remove the vehicle’s license plates prior to the attack.44 p

The government further alleges that in the aftermath of the shooting at the courthouse, Carrillo ambushed law enforcement officers at his home in Ben Lomond during their investigation into the white van used in the May 29 shooting.45 Carrillo reportedly shot two sheriff’s deputies—one fatally—as they approached his residence, detonated a pipe bomb, and fled the property.46 q Wounded in the exchange with law enforcement, Carrillo reportedly carjacked a vehicle, which he drove for a short distance before abandoning it, running toward the highway, and attempting to carjack a second vehicle before being taken into custody.47 Law enforcement examination of the carjacked vehicle discovered a series of phrases on the hood of the car, written in Carrillo’s own blood from his gunshot wound: “BOOG,” “I become unreasonable,”r and “stop the duopoly.”s Carrillo, charged federally with one count each of murder and attempted murder of a person assisting an officer or employee of the U.S. government, and Justus, charged with aiding and abetting these two offenses, have pleaded not guilty and are proceeding with mitigation factors for the Department of Justice’s Death Penalty Protocol.t Subsequent federal law enforcement investigations have uncovered an interconnected online network of Boogaloo movement supporters that coordinated efforts to further their violent offline goals in Minneapolis and elsewhere.

Michael Robert Solomon and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, who were charged in September 2020 in the District of Minnesota for their attempted provision of material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, are accused of organizing their offline mobilization efforts on Facebook on May 26, 2020, in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.48 u Following their arrival in Minneapolis, Solomon and Teeter allegedly began meeting with a confidential human source (CHS) who they believed to be a member of Hamas. Court records indicate Solomon and Teeter “believed their anti-U.S. government views aligned with those of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization, and actively developed plans to carry out violence in Minnesota and elsewhere.”v After a series of meetings with the purported Hamas members, the pair are alleged to have manufactured suppressors they believed were for Hamas in exchange for funds to “recruit members and for the purchase of land for a compound to train Boogaloo Bois.”49 w

Teeter, who has since pleaded guilty, admitted that they delivered five suppressors to what they believed were Hamas members, as well as a 3D-printed “drop in auto sear” (DIAS), a combination of parts designed to convert a legal, semi-automatic rifle to an illegal, fully automatic machine gun.50 x The government alleges that the DIAS Teeter provided to what he thought was Hamas was purchased from Timothy Watson, a Boogaloo movement member, who was charged in West Virginia in October 2020 with firearms charges stemming from his alleged illegal possession, manufacture, and transfer of machine gun conversion devices in the form of ‘drop in auto sears.’51 Watson’s criminal complaint details that a cooperating defendant in the Hamas material support case positively identified the “drop in auto sear that he ordered from portablewallhanger.com” (Watson’s business).52 y

Solomon and Teeter were not the only Boogaloo movement members who were alleged to have purchased an illegal DIAS: Watson’s PayPal transaction logs showed a January 2020 purchase of a DIAS by Steven Carrillo.53 Carrillo purchased a ‘portable wall hanger’ from Watson’s business, which is alleged to have had 800 clients in 50 states.54 z Watson’s business purported to sell 3D-printed ‘Portable Wall Hangers,’ a simple plastic hook and tab on which one could hang car keys. However, according to the criminal complaint, these wall hangers were designed and sold for the true purpose of functioning as an illegal DIAS. These tools, the government alleges, were advertised on Boogaloo-themed Facebook pages, and Watson’s website even included a note that “10% of all Portable Wall Hanger proceeds for March 2020 will be donated directly to the Justice for Duncan Lemp GoFundMe fundraiser.”55 aa

Also alleged to be present in Minneapolis during the civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and charged separately from Solomon and Teeter, was Ivan Harrison Hunter.56 ab According to the charging documents, Hunter communicated with Teeter through Facebook in preparation for his interstate travel from Texas to Minnesota.57 ac The government further alleges that while present at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building on the evening of May 28, 2020, Hunter fired 13 rounds from an AK-47 style semi-automatic rifle into the precinct building, in violation of the Anti-Riot Act (18 U.S.C § 2101).58 ad The complaint also indicates that Hunter was in contact with Steven Carrillo “before, during, and after the Minneapolis Third Precinct building shooting and the murders in California.”59 Four hours after Carrillo’s alleged murder of FPS officer David Patrick Underwood, Hunter reportedly texted Carrillo: “Go for police buildings.” Carrillo responded: “I did better lol.”60 On June 1, 2020, the government alleges, Hunter messaged Carrillo asking for money, explaining he was going to “be in the woods for a bit.” Carrillo then allegedly sent Hunter $200 via a cash application, telling him he was “doing good sh[*]t out there” and to “stay safe.”61

The attempted and successful acts of violence alleged to have been committed by members of the Boogaloo movement has often stemmed from decentralized nodes of a broader milieu.62 However, charges were announced against 13 individuals for their role in this conspiracy, with six charged federally.63 ae

Eight of those charged also face state terrorism offenses for their membership in an anti-government militia known as the Wolverine Watchmen.64 af The seven, the complaint alleges, “engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the Capitol of Michigan, and kidnap Government officials including the Governor of Michigan.”65 ag Members of the group engaged in numerous alleged overt acts in furtherance of the plot, including firearms training, the attempted procurement of explosives, and surveillance on Whitmer’s vacation home.66 The goal of the operation, as described by one of the alleged co-conspirators, was to “Snatch and grab, man. Grab the f[******] Governor…we do that, dude — it’s over.”67 Following the abduction, the complaint alleges, the group planned to move the Governor to a secure location in Wisconsin for a “trial.”68

While the investigations into the specific linkages between these cells and other individuals and ideologies are ongoing, open-source reporting has suggested that alleged participants in the conspiracy to kidnap the Michigan governor charged both federally and at the state level have connections to the Boogaloo ideology.ah Prosecutors described Barry Croft as “probably the most committed violent extremist of the entire group,” and an FBI Special Agent noted during his bond hearing that Croft is a national leader of the anti-government Three Percenters.69 While all but one member of the plot have pleaded not guilty and await trial, this complex set of criminal cases relating to the plot against the Michigan governor underscores the versatility of the Boogaloo movement to latch onto local issues and grievances in order to further their ideological goals.ai

Despite a year of sustained, concerted anti-government mobilization by Boogaloo adherents and networks, a period of relative decline in offline Boogaloo activity followed the disrupted kidnapping plot. The typically visible Boogaloo movement was seemingly absent from the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.aj Only a handful of Boogaloo adherents appeared at state capitals on January 17, 2021, for the so-called ‘Million Militia March,’ an advertised event of note within anti-government communities online. One group of Boogaloo adherents present at the 2021 Lobby Day on January 18 in Richmond, the Last Sons of Liberty, claimed to have been at the U.S. Capitol as well. Reporting by ProPublica, FRONTLINE, and Reuters indicated that this Boogaloo-aligned group “posted a video to Parler purporting to document their role in the incident — a clip that shows members inside the Capitol.”ak

A limited overt Boogaloo presence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and in publicly organized events in the weeks since should not be taken as a sign of the movement’s decay: As with the alleged Proud Boys’ involvement in the vanguard efforts to break into the U.S. Capitol,70 any potential Boogaloo-aligned presence was seemingly devoid of its typical colorful aesthetic markers, suggesting a desire to avoid scrutiny by law enforcement and the media of its role in instigating or engaging in violent actions.al Concerningly, it may also signal a more intentional shift in the movement from reactionary revolution narratives to insurrectionary revolution narratives, such as the “no political solution” mentality that is a hallmark of insurrectionary accelerationists.am As vocal Boogaloo organizer Mike Dunn stated to a reporter on January 18, 2021, “We’re looking for a revolution, not a civil war.” When asked about the Capitol riot, Dunn further stated that, “I think it was the right thing for the wrong reason.”71

In addition to the cases detailed above, Boogaloo movement members have been accused of using Facebook to livestream a search for a police officer to kill,72 conducting tactical ‘kill house’ training,73 constructing pipe bombs,74 and plotting to use Molotov cocktails to incite violence at a Black Lives Matter protest.75 While law enforcement intervention disrupted the majority of would-be violent plots, the alleged actions by members of the group in 2020 evidence a desire to commit acts of violence or domestic terrorism in furtherance of their ideological goals.

Looking Forward: The Boogaloo Movement in 2021 and Beyond
The rapid ascendancy of the Boogaloo movement in 2020 further accentuates the growing domestic terrorism threat posed by a diverse range of insurrectionary actors in response and in opposition to domestic political conditions. While jihadi foreign terrorist organizations continue their efforts to direct and inspire actors within the United States, the terrorist threat of 2021 and beyond is undoubtedly a fractured one.76 The continued prevalence of decentralized and disparate violent extremist movements within the United States evidences an evolving threat landscape—one defined by leaderless insurrection and new challenges like accelerationism that seeks total system collapse.77 To date, the policy response to this threat has been concerningly muted, though early signs from the nascent Biden administration suggest that domestic terrorism will be a principal policy focus.78

Yet threats like the Boogaloo movement that draw from shared cultural mythos and use forms of communication that blur the lines between humor and incitement create significant challenges for law enforcement and social media companies to identify and monitor credible threats.79 Given the extensive role that social media has played in the formulation of Boogaloo networks and plots, and the dramatic actions taken by Facebook and Discord, the evergreen question of social media companies’ responses to extremist exploitation of their platforms is especially relevant.80 With so much of Boogaloo iconography and narrative landscape mirroring mainstream references to American patriotic sentiment, the bar for content removal thus far appears set at explicit calls for violence.an Yet the almost necessary reliance on explicit calls to violence or proven associations with coded phrases to offline actions to trigger content removal allows the insidious rhetoric to reach further afield than its targeted audiences.81 Additionally, the movement’s adaptive nature as a meme-based culture will mean its adherents can likely adapt to and capitalize on emerging political flash points faster than automated content moderation efforts can intercede.82

The Boogaloo movement is merely one of the many domestic violent extremist movements that has risen to prominence in a counter-extremism environment that has long prioritized foreign threats. As such, it is incumbent that the response to the threat of domestic terrorism from the incoming Biden administration is proportional to the threat and rule-of-law-based.83 Particularly in light of the actions of law enforcement at Ruby Ridge and Waco, it is essential that government actions do not unnecessarily feed into the grievances and narratives of anti-government extremist movements.

All levels of government should appropriately prioritize and allocate resources based on the threat. Transparency is central to the success of any government initiatives, supported by evidence-driven policies and public awareness and education campaigns that include a range of political and apolitical voices. Considered, comprehensive, and transparent approaches will be key in the federal government’s efforts to present itself as a credible actor in the prevention of domestic violent extremism.

Currently, the gap between the alleged actions of the Boogaloo movement’s members and the charges brought forth by the Department of Justice highlights the extent of the challenges facing law enforcement efforts to robustly counter domestic violent extremism. Experts have stressed the need for a reassessment of how the federal government counters the threats by these diverse and varied actors, including the enactment of a robust domestic terrorism statute inclusive of any crime of violence within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.84 ao Any legislative changes to the federal terrorism statutes should be done in a way that protects civil rights and civil liberties and empowers marginalized communities often targeted by such acts of terror or extremism. Such measured proposals, crafted with input from a diverse range of stakeholders, are worthy of further consideration within a broad suite of policy changes aimed at combating white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and anti-government extremism.85

The recent arrests of Boogaloo movement members, specifically those that involved the use of undercover federal employees, will likely encourage more robust operational security measures by Boogaloo movement members.ap Simultaneously, it will likely generate greater antipathy toward law enforcement in an already stringent anti-law enforcement ideological space. Greater law enforcement attention on domestic extremism after the events of January 6 and as a feature of the Biden administration will likely further remove operational planning from the easily monitorable areas of the internet.86

Consideration should also be given to potential splintering of the Boogaloo movement into a factionalized set of milieus where ideological precepts distinguish individual groups. Recent developments suggest that some factions within the Boogaloo movement may be already seeking to establish their respective franchise brand as the forebear or vanguard of the movement.87 Additionally, engagement and cooperation between Boogaloo movement members and a range of domestic violent extremist groups is also a possibility in 2021 and beyond.88 The authors’ analysis has shown that Boogaloo adherents frequently claim or display indicators of “double patching,” or holding affiliations or membership in multiple organizations, a practice not uncommon in the far-right extremist landscape.89 This suggests the Boogaloo movement’s various strains may fracture into like-minded established spaces rather than remain its own independent movement.aq Further, it is reasonable to anticipate that Boogaloo narratives and ideographs will continue to resonate within established insurrectionary militia spaces and organizations, such as the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers, following the leveling of conspiracy charges for their role in the events of January 6.ar

The Boogaloo movement is still well-positioned for carrying out acts of violence and has shown the desire to mobilize in response to political flashpoints, of which there undoubtedly will be more. And while much of the Boogaloo movement’s rhetorical justification for violence is premised on a response to government-initiated civil conflict or in response to a social collapse, a subset of the movement is dedicated to proactively hastening, or facilitating, those conditions. The alleged actions of insurrectionist and accelerationist actors in the Boogaloo movement, such as Hunter and Carrillo, have shown not only a willingness but a capacity to capitalize on social upheavals to carry out targeted violence against law enforcement in furtherance of systemic collapse. Moving forward, those insurrectionary influences may serve as a catalyst toward additional violent actions against law enforcement, political figures, and even critical infrastructure. They may also hint at a potential coalescence of goals into a single framework that currently is lacking for the movement. As the Boogaloo movement contains multiple ideological strains, goals are often aligned within those pre-existing factions. Moving forward, researchers and analysts should focus on identifying and carefully considering any elucidation of long-term goals from the Boogaloo movement, whether that be at a macro level due to a consolidation of the movement or a meso level reflecting a fractal environment wherein Boogaloo factions splinter and latch onto established milieus and organizations like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.

The Boogaloo presents as an eclectic contemporary evolution from the militia movement of the 1990s, but to understand why Boogaloo violence occurs, it is crucial for policymakers, practitioners, and academics to recognize the Boogaloo movement’s rhetorical synergy with its sociological predecessor.90 Reporting in the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing described a collective state of mind, which transformed “frustration and alienation into a black-and-white world in which the forces of one-world government are at the nation’s doorstep and the Federal Government and the F.B.I. together are bitter enemies of true patriots … a world of hate and fear, with a shared belief in the same sinister global forces binding disparate groups and individuals who have fallen under its sway.”91 While the alleged kidnapping plot of Governor Whitmer dominated the headlines in early October 2020, the little-covered killing early that same month of a Metro Detroit man during a shootout with FBI agents was quickly amplified by Boogaloo movement networks online; one Boogaloo movement member posted a video stating “Well, the feds have done it again, this time killing Eric Mark-Matthew Allport … As far as I know, he was a Boogaloo Boy. He embodied our ideology, our beliefs. He lived with liberty on his mind and they killed him.”92

Months later, a lone Boogaloo-sympathetic individual protested outside the Indianapolis Statehouse on January 17, 2021.93 He had with him a sign that read “Justice for Breonna Taylor, Duncan Lemp and Eric Allport.”94 While the near- and long-term future of the Boogaloo movement remains uncertain, its ability to leverage anti-government narratives perpetuated by the broader milieu will likely continue to radicalize and inspire individuals to violence.     CTC

Matthew Kriner is an analyst of far-right extremism and radicalization. Twitter: @mattkriner

Jon Lewis is a Research Fellow at the Program on Extremism, where he studies violent extremist organizations in the United States. Twitter: @Jon_Lewis27

© 2021 Matt Kriner, Jonathan Lewis

Substantive Notes
[a] The Boogaloo name derives from a meme connected to the cult-classic ‘80s movie Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Its current iteration grew from 4chan’s /k/ weapons board. See Alex Newhouse and Nate Gunesch, “The Boogaloo Movement Wants To Be Seen as Anti-Racist, But It Has a White Supremacist Fringe,” Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, May 30, 2020.

[b] 4chan is an anonymous image board that has gained popularity in some circles and is known for its lack of moderation. It has helped foster several extreme countercultural communities, including white supremacists, QAnon, and others. See Rob Arthur, “The Man Who Helped Turn 4chan Into the Internet’s Racist Engine,” VICE, November 2, 2020.

[c] Accelerationism is an ideologically agnostic doctrine of violent and non-violent actions taken to exploit contradictions intrinsic to a political system to “accelerate” its destruction through the friction caused by its features. See Jade Parker, “Accelerationism in America: Threat Perceptions,” GNET Insights, February 4, 2020, and Zack Beauchamp, “Accelerationism: the obscure idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world,” Vox, November 18, 2019.

[d] The authors’ research also showed that not every individual who identified with Boogaloo symbolism, its ideographs, or engaged with its memes online held an affinity for or endorsed the violent agenda of insurrectionary and accelerationist factions of the Boogaloo movement. A limited few even expressed seemingly genuine solidarity with Black Lives Matter protestors, both online and offline at demonstrations.

[e] Through invocations of familiar Revolutionary War themes, Boogaloo narratives blur the edges between constitutionally protected dissent and threatened insurrection. Phrases and symbols that evoke the morally sound actions of George Washington and the Continental Army against the egregious edicts of King George are applied wantonly to contemporary hot-button political issues.

[f] Boogaloo adherents dressed in the movement’s conspicuous attire have appeared at moments of severe societal tension under the guise of protecting protestors or standing by for, as they describe it, the moment “sh*t hits the fan” and a civil conflict kicks off. Boogaloo adherents speaking to the media have also described how sympathies with demonstrators perceived as sharing some of their grievances and frustrations with federal and local government overreach spurred their mobilization. From Arizona to Texas to Minneapolis and beyond, Boogaloo adherents featured heavily in the spring 2020 anti-lockdown protests and summer unrest in response to George Floyd’s death. While most were ostensibly awaiting the start of societal collapse that they believed would be brought on by the unrest, some claimed to be protecting demonstrators from potential police brutality. See, for example, Robert Kuznia, Drew Griffin, and Curt Devine, “Gun-toting members of the Boogaloo movement are showing up at protests,” CNN, June 4, 2020, and “Boogaloo Supporters Animated By Lockdown Protests, Recent Incidents,” Anti-Defamation League, May 22, 2020.

[g] Red flag laws are state laws that provide law enforcement with a legal mechanism to temporarily restrict firearm access to individuals determined to be a public safety risk. See Timothy Williams, “What Are ‘Red Flag’ Gun Laws, and How Do They Work?” New York Times, August 6, 2019, and Seattle Police Department v. Kaleb James Cole, “Petition for Extreme Risk Protection Order,” King County Superior Court Clerk, September 26, 2019.

[h] These communities, distinct from the vast majority of gun owners and enthusiasts, are characterized by a heavy focus on illicit firearms, firearm modifications, and a fervent opposition to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

[i] A subreddit is a user-created Reddit community organized around a specific theme.

[j] The financing and commercialization of domestic extremism remains an under-researched area of concern and an enduring indicator of the Boogaloo’s anti-institutional tendencies. The efforts of Boogaloo members to commercialize the aesthetic and conduct legal business aimed at attracting those affiliated with—and in furtherance of—Boogaloo ideological principles illustrate how the movement has almost become a lifestyle to some. Furthermore, the usage of peer-to-peer financial apps like PayPal and digital currencies like Bitcoin by violent and non-violent actors in the movement illustrates the monitoring challenges posed by decentralized extremist movements such as the Boogaloo. See, for example, Nick R. Martin, “Selling the boogaloo,” Informant, June 29, 2020.

[k] Duncan Lemp was a 21-year-old Maryland resident killed in March 2020 by state law enforcement during a “no-knock” raid related to an illicit firearms investigation. Lemp was subsequently lionized by many in the Boogaloo movement as a victim of state violence deployed to suppress his constitutional right to bear arms. For more, see Dan Morse, “Maryland SWAT officer cleared in fatal shooting of Duncan Lemp during no-knock raid,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020; Will Sommer, “Anti-Lockdown Protesters Now Have a 21-Year-Old Martyr,” Daily Beast, May 11, 2020; and Tess Owen, “Md. man killed by officer during raid had door booby-trapped to fire at anyone entering, police say,” Washington Post, March 17, 2020.

[l] While the Lobby Day came and went without violence, law enforcement action appears to have disrupted a serious plot by a group of accelerationist neo-Nazis affiliated with The Base. On January 16, 2020, one day before Lobby Day in Richmond, Virginia, Brian Lemley, Jr., Patrik Mathews, and William Bilbrough were arrested while allegedly plotting to commit a domestic terror attack during the Lobby Day event. Testimony from JJ MacNab before the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism claimed that the group was planning to “shoot into the crowd to start a violent, chaotic melee.” Despite the evidence presented by the government with respect to the alleged plot, the three were charged with only firearms and alien-related violations (stemming from Mathews’ alleged illegal entry into the United States from Canada). William Bilbrough pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison in December 2020. Lemley, Jr., and Mathews have pleaded not guilty. See “Three Alleged Members of the Violent Extremist Group ‘The Base’ Facing Federal Firearms and Alien-Related Charges,” U.S. Department of Justice, January 16, 2020; USA v. Brian Mark Lemley, Jr., Patrik Jordan Mathews, and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, “Indictment,” District of Maryland, 2020; USA v. Brian Mark Lemley, Jr., Patrik Jordan Mathews, and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, “Motion for Detention Pending Trial,” District of Maryland, 2020; USA v. William Garfield Bilbrough IV, “Plea Agreement,” District of Maryland, 2020; USA v. William Garfield Bilbrough IV, “Judgment,” District of Maryland, 2020; Timothy Williams, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar, “Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally,” New York Times, January 16, 2020; and JJ McNab, “Assessing the Threat from Accelerationists and Militia Extremists,” Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism (House Committee on Homeland Security), July 16, 2020.

[m] In the wake of the shooting, then-Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli claimed that “[w]hen someone targets a police officer or a police station with an intention to do harm and intimidate—that is an act of domestic terrorism.” Furthermore, Carrillo was charged with murder and attempted murder “of a person assisting an officer or employee of the United States government” in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1114. Justus is charged with aiding and abetting Carrilllo in these acts, which carry the same penalties. When an action in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1114 is “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct,” it is considered to be a federal crime of terrorism within U.S. code. The actions of Carrillo and Justus, as alleged by the government, would appear to fall within the definition of a federal crime of terrorism. Daisy Nguyen, “Federal officer killed guarding courthouse near protest,” Associated Press, May 30, 2020; “Two Defendants Charged with Murder and Aiding and Abetting in Slaying of Federal Protective Service Officer at Oakland Courthouse Building,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 16, 2020; “Federal crime of terrorism,” Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law; Jon Lewis, “Rethinking Domestic Terrorism Law After Boogaloo Movement Attacks,” Lawfare, July 27, 2020.

[n] Public reporting further suggests that Carrillo was transferred to Travis AFB in 2018, where “he was a member of the 60th Security Force Squadron and team leader of the Phoenix Ravens, a specially-trained security force that protects aircraft from terrorist and ‘criminal threats.’” See Julia Sulek, “Santa Cruz deputy killing: Suspect was a Travis airman,” Reporter, June 9, 2020.

[o] The complaint notes that “‘soup bois’ may be a term that followers of the Boogaloo movement use to refer to federal law enforcement agents; I know that federal law enforcement agencies are sometimes referred colloquially to as ‘alphabet soup’ agencies. I believe that Justus’ response ‘let’s boogie’ is a statement of agreement and affirmation to engage in attacks on law enforcement personnel in accordance with Boogaloo ideology.” USA v. Steven Carrillo, “Criminal Complaint.”

[p] This statement was proffered by Robert Justus to FBI agents during a consensual interview. Justus traveled to the federal building in San Francisco on June 11, 2020, in order to “provide the FBI with information about the white van in Oakland.” While the FBI has not expressed doubt as to the veracity of the core of Justus’ claims, the affiant notes that “Based on my training, experience, and review of the evidence in this case, I do not believe Justus did not want to participate in the murder as he claimed during his statement to FBI agents … Justus did not come forward to report his involvement with CARRILLO in the Oakland murder until after the murder of the SCSO deputy and arrest of CARRILLO. I therefore believe Justus’ statement to the FBI was a false exculpatory narrative carefully crafted to fit what Justus believed to be the state of the evidence.” USA v. Steven Carrillo, “Criminal Complaint.”

[q] The complaint more extensively details the series of events leading to the arrival of law enforcement personnel at Carrillo’s Ben Lomond residence. A witness reported a white Ford van abandoned several miles from Carrillo’s property with what “appeared to be ammunition, firearms, and bomb-making equipment” inside. This van (a 1992 white Ford van) was later assessed to be the van used in the May 29 courthouse shooting. USA v. Steven Carrillo, “Criminal Complaint.”

[r] “I become unreasonable” is likely a reference to Marvin Heemeyer, who destroyed numerous buildings in the town of Granby, Colorado, with a modified, armored bulldozer in 2004. Heemeyer, who had a longstanding feud with town officials, left behind a note that included the line, “I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable.” Heemeyer, and this phrase in particular, became a popular meme in the more virulent “/k/” weapons board of 4chan and eventually spread to Boogaloo meme spaces. See Patrick Brower, “Brower: Meme inspired by Heemeyer becomes extremist rallying cry,” Ski-Hi News, June 26, 2020; “Man who bulldozed through Colo. town is dead,” NBC News, June 4, 2004; “‘I became unreasonable’: Bloody message scrawled on car at Ben Lomond ambush,” Mercury News, June 12, 2020; Brandy Zadrozny, Ben Collins, and Andrew Blankstein, “Man charged in deputy ambush scrawled extremist ‘Boogaloo’ phrases in blood,” Yahoo News, June 11, 2020.

[s] “Stop the duopoly” is a common refrain among anti-government extremists and accelerationists who perceive the United States’ two-party polity as emblematic of unending systemic corruption.

[t] Carrillo’s state trial was recently delayed until “early 2021” to allow his federal case to progress. See Melissa Hartman, “Steven Carrillo and Joseph Keeler preliminary hearings pushed to March,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 12, 2020. The federal case against both Carrillo and Justus, in turn, has been slowed by COVID-19 protocols, extensive discovery, and the Department of Justice’s Death Penalty Protocol. Nate Gartrell, “Biden has pledged to end federal death penalty, but lawyers for accused Boogaloo-affiliated cop killers say they’ll believe it when they see it,” Mercury News, February 1, 2021.

[u] In sum, the government alleges that Solomon and Teeter offered their services to individuals they believed to be members of Hamas due primarily to the alignment of their anti-U.S. government sentiments and the potential for mutual gain. The primary motivations appear to be solely opportunistic and financially motivated, and the pair have not evidenced any known affiliation with the ideological goals of Hamas. “Two Self-Described ‘Boogaloo Bois’ Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to Hamas,” U.S. Department of Justice, September 4, 2020.

[v] These alleged violent plots were frequently discussed by the pair during recorded conversations with the purported members of Hamas. The criminal complaint details a plot “to destroy a specific county courthouse located in Northern Minnesota.” In one such discussion, Solomon allegedly claimed that “I’m also a redneck, nobody notices a redneck. But basically like, we’ve, we’ve [sic] got the ideas, we’ve got you know, what we wanna do, we’ve got training and we’ve got knowledge…and we have a network.” USA v. Michael Robert Solomon and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, “Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint,” District of Minnesota, 2020; Seamus Hughes and Jon Lewis, “Why the FBI had to pretend Hamas wanted to plot with ‘boogaloo boys,’” Washington Post, September 9, 2020.

[w] The complaint further notes that the pair “expressed a desire to employ themselves as ‘mercenaries’ for Hamas as a means to generate cash” for their movement, and stated that they would be particularly valuable to Hamas as homegrown extremists as “two American-born white boys.” The complaint details that “CHS informed TEETER in a recorded conversation that the suppressors would specifically be delivered to the militant wing of Hamas.” The complaint further describes the goals of Solomon and Teeter in entering into this business relationship: “SOLOMON and TEETER proposed creating a store front where they could build suppressors and rifles in the back while maintaining a legitimate-appearing maintenance business. In return for a loan from Hamas to start this business, SOLOMON and TEETER reiterated the idea of giving Hamas a discount on suppressors and rifles.” USA v. Michael Robert Solomon and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, “Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint,” District of Minnesota, 2020.

[x] Following Teeter’s guilty plea, Solomon set a change of plea hearing set for March 7, 2021.

[y] Given the timeline and case specifics, the authors assess that the unnamed cooperating defendant described in Watson’s complaint is likely Benjamin Ryan Teeter, who pleaded guilty in the material support to Hamas case in the District of Minnesota as detailed within the complaint.

[z] The detention order also notes that “Defendant [Watson] was disgruntled with the IRS because he could not pay his taxes with cash during COVID. Special Agent McNeal testified that there were recordings on electronic devices seized during the investigation where the Defendant [Watson] states, ‘Those people need to [f***ing] die.’ and ‘Before COVID-19 ends, the world might call me a crazed gun man.’ Additionally, Special Agent McNeal testified in relation to the IRS incident, that Defendant [Watson] told his girlfriend, that he was going to “kill ‘em”, “blow up the building”, and/or “deface federal property.” USA v. Timothy John Watson, “Detention Order,” Northern District of West Virginia, 2020.

[aa] Watson has pleaded not guilty, and pretrial motions continue.

[ab] Hunter has pleaded not guilty, and the most recent court docket indicated that discovery was in progress.

[ac] The complaint notes that “beginning in the hours of Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Minneapolis and St. Paul experienced widespread arson, rioting, and looting. The unrest, and the associated damage and destruction, was, in part, a response to the death of George Floyd during an encounter with the Minneapolis Police Department and lasted for several days and continued until the early morning hours of May 30.” Members of the Boogaloo movement, including Teeter, Solomon, and Hunter, are alleged to have mobilized in response to these events, and a witness (identified only as W-1) reported to the FBI that Solomon claimed that his group “were willing to protect W-1 from the police, white supremacists, and looters during the on-going civil unrest. SOLOMON also told W-1 that his mission was to get police out of the city.” See USA v. Michael Robert Solomon and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, “Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint,” District of Minnesota, 2020.

[ad] At the time of publication, Hunter has not been charged with any federal crimes of terrorism or violations of material support statutes.

[ae] A 14th individual, Brain Higgins, was arrested on October 15, 2020. Beth LeBlanc and Robert Snell, “Wisconsin man 14th person arrested in alleged Whitmer kidnapping plot,” Detroit News, October 16, 2020.

[af] Militia expert Amy Cooter described the Wolverine Watchmen as a relatively new group that likely started in 2020 as an offshoot of the Michigan Liberty Militia. Amy Cooter, “Lessons from embedding with the Michigan militia – 5 questions answered about the group allegedly plotting to kidnap a governor,” Conversation, October 9, 2020.

[ag] Factually similar affidavits were entered by the Michigan Attorney General against five other co-conspirators. See “Six Arrested on Federal Charge of Conspiracy to Kidnap the Governor of Michigan,” U.S. Department of Justice, October 8, 2020; “AG Nessel Charges 7 under Michigan’s Anti-Terrorism Act as Part of Massive Joint Law Enforcement Investigation,” Michigan Department of Attorney General, October 8, 2020.

[ah] Reporting from NBC News indicated that “A senior federal law enforcement official said federal agents found that the group of seven tied to the Wolverine Watchmen believes in the ‘boogaloo’ movement.” Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny, Tom Winter, and Corky Siemaszko, “Whitmer conspiracy allegations tied to ‘boogaloo’ movement,” NBC News, October 8, 2020.

[ai] One of the alleged Michigan governor kidnap plotters, Ty Garbin, has pleaded guilty. The remainder have pleaded not guilty. Several individuals involved in the alleged plot have been linked to the Boogaloo Movement. NBC News notes that videos posted by Brandon Caserta show him “wearing a Hawaiian shirt, which is typically associated with the boogaloo movement.” ProPublica and FRONTLINE reporting suggests that “Joseph Morrison, a Marine Corps reservist who was serving in the 4th Marine Logistics Group at the time of his arrest and arraignment … went by the name Boogaloo Bunyan on social media. He also kept a sticker of the Boogaloo flag — it features a Hawaiian floral pattern and an igloo — on the rear window of his pickup truck.” Morrison is one of the eight charged at the state level for his alleged participation in the Wolverine Watchmen. A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, Lila Hassan, and Karim Hajj, “The Boogaloo Bois Have Guns, Criminal Records and Military Training. Now They Want to Overthrow the Government,” ProPublica and FRONTLINE, February 1, 2021; Collins, Zadrozny, Winter, and Siemaszko; Robert Snell and Kayla Ruble, “Accused Whitmer kidnap plotter pleads guilty, will ‘fully cooperate,’” Detroit News, January 27, 2021; USA v. Ty Garbin, “Plea Agreement,” Western District of Michigan, 2021.

[aj] To date, no individuals federally charged in relation to the events of January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol have been reported to have a connection with the Boogaloo movement. See “Capitol Hill Siege,” George Washington University Program on Extremism.

[ak] ProPublica, FRONTLINE, and Reuters have been unable to independently confirm their involvement. Ted Hesson, Ned Parker, Kristina Cooke, and Julia Harte, “U.S. Capitol siege emboldens motley crew of extremists,” Reuters, January 8, 2021; A.C. Thompson and Ford Fischer, “Members of Several Well-Known Hate Groups Identified at Capitol Riot,” ProPublica-FRONTLINE, January 9, 2021.

[al] Open-source reporting in the aftermath of the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 remains fluid, and additional Boogaloo involvement may be revealed.

[am] The “no political solution” narrative is an example of an insurrectionary narrative used by accelerationists to condition and move individuals into a belief that violence is necessary to collapse a system deemed irreparably corrupt and broken. This stands in contrast to reactionary revolution narratives common in American anti-government ideology, which rely on external, typically unconstitutional actions taken by the federal government to justify a violent response. See Cassie Miller, “‘There Is No Political Solution’: Accelerationism in the White Power Movement,” Southern Poverty Law Center, June 23, 2020.

[an] The authors’ research has revealed that some factions of the Boogaloo movement, particularly accelerationists, intentionally seek to exploit the grey area of platforms’ terms of service. In some instances, actors intentionally frame posts as likely to be banned and thus use that as a preemptive argument that their First Amendment rights are under siege by anti-conservative bias. See Maura Conway, “Why Deplatforming the Extreme Right is a Lot More Challenging than Deplatforming IS,” GNET, January 15, 2021.

[ao] Such a statute, as proposed, would be modeled after 18 U.S.C. § 2332b, “acts of terrorism transcending national Boundaries,” and would criminalize only the “specific, enumerated crimes of violence” found within § 2332b when committed “with one of the intents included in the definitions of both international and domestic terrorism, regardless of the ideology behind it.” As argued by Mary McCord, former Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice, the inclusion of this new statute to the enumerated federal crimes of terrorism would unlock material support prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. § 2339A. As McCord and others have articulated, this should not be confused with 18 U.S. Code § 2339B – Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations. The proposals put forth in support of domestic terrorism statute do not suggest the designation of domestic terrorist organizations, groups, or movements. Mary McCord, “Filling the Gaps in Our Terrorism Statutes,” George Washington University Program on Extremism, August 2019.

[ap] The concern with operational security is evidenced in the criminal complaint against Steven Carrillo, in which the affiant describes the FBI’s analysis of Carrillo’s mobile phone records: “Carrillo powered off his phone or put it into airplane mode in order to avoid detection during the time that he committed the assault on the PSOs in Oakland before driving away. I further believe that Carrillo traveled south from Oakland and then up the peninsula in order to avoid crossing one of the bridges spanning the San Francisco bay, where images of his van would likely have been captured by a bridge surveillance camera.” See USA v. Steven Carrillo, “Criminal Complaint.”

[aq] For example, libertarian-oriented factions of the Boogaloo movement may choose moderated paths that retain positive outlooks on liberal democracy, while accelerationist and white supremacist-oriented factions may deepen their engagement with neo-Nazi groups and insurrectionist worldviews.

[ar] Despite intense anti-law enforcement sentiments in the Boogaloo movement, it has dovetailed well with Oath Keepers and Three Percenters mythos around obligations to uphold the Constitution and insurrectionist platitudes such as Thomas Jefferson’s now infamous quote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” For example, one of the purported leaders of the Whitmer kidnapping plot was described as a national leader of the Three Percenters, and law enforcement has alleged that Boogaloo martyr Duncan Lemp was an “active member of the Three Percenters.” While Lemp’s parents have “disputed characterizations of their son as a member of a radical movement or as a threat to police,” state prosecutors have declined to file charges in Lemp’s death. The official report of the shooting noted that Lemp’s profile on the website ‘mymilitia.com’ stated “Hello all! My name is Duncan Lemp, I am an active 3%er and looking for local members and recruits.” The report also notes that a “Boogaloo Boys” patch affixed to a body armor vest was one of the items recovered from the Lemp residence. The full text of the Howard County State Attorney’s Office investigation into the shooting can be found at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/SAO/Resources/Files/REPORTMarch2020Event.pdf. See also Robert Snell, “Accused Whitmer kidnap plotter says God gave permission to kill,” Detroit News, January 13, 2021; Michael Ruiz, “Maryland prosecutors rule out charges against cops in death of Boogaloo ‘martyr’ Duncan Lemp,” Fox News, December 31, 2020.

[1] “Six Arrested on Federal Charge of Conspiracy to Kidnap the Governor of Michigan,” U.S. Department of Justice, October 8, 2020; “AG Nessel Charges 7 under Michigan’s Anti-Terrorism Act as Part of Massive Joint Law Enforcement Investigation,” Michigan Department of Attorney General, October 8, 2020.

[2] “Joint Terrorism Task Force Charges Three Men Who Allegedly Sought To Exploit Protests In Las Vegas And Incite Violence,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 3, 2020; “Two Self-Described ‘Boogaloo Bois’ Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to Hamas,” U.S. Department of Justice, September 4, 2020; “Two Defendants Charged with Murder and Aiding and Abetting in Slaying of Federal Protective Service Officer at Oakland Courthouse Building,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 16, 2020.

[3] Robert Evans and Jason Wilson, “The Boogaloo Movement Is Not What You Think,” Bellingcat, May 27, 2020; “The Boogaloo: Extremists’ New Slang Term for A Coming Civil War,” Anti-Defamation League, November 26, 2019.

[4] Emma Grey Ellis, “The Meme-Fueled Rise of a Dangerous, Far-Right Militia,” Wired, June 10, 2020; Leah Sottile, “The Chaos Agents,” New York Times, August 19, 2020; Michael Kunzelman, “Virus restrictions fuel anti-government ‘boogaloo’ movement,” Associated Press, May 13, 2020; Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, and Souad Mekhennet, “Men wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying guns add a volatile new element to protests,” Washington Post, June 4, 2020.

[5] Matthew Kriner and Colin Clarke, “Eclectic Boogaloo: The anti-government extremist movement’s loose structure and adaptability is the key to its growth,” Slate, August 19, 2020; “Boogaloo Movement Gains Traction Amid Civil Unrest,” New Jersey Office of Homeland Security, June 18, 2020.

[6] JJ McNab, “Assessing the Threat from Accelerationists and Militia Extremists,” Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism (House Committee on Homeland Security), July 16, 2020; Kelly Weill, “The Disturbing Appeal of Boogaloo Violence to Military Men,” Daily Beast, June 8, 2020.

[7] Ibid.; Sam Jackson, “A Schema of Right-Wing Extremism in the United States,” International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague, October 2019.

[8] See, for example, Emmanuel Felton, “A Self-Proclaimed ‘Boogaloo Boy’ Was Arrested After Allegedly Livestreaming His Hunt To Kill A Police Officer,” BuzzFeed News, April 22, 2020.

[9] Kriner and Clarke.

[10] Sam Jackson, Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020).

[11] Ibid.

[12] Kriner and Clarke.

[13] Stephen Montemayor, “Inside Minnesota’s Boogaloo movement: Armed and eager for societal collapse,” Star Tribune, July 18, 2020.

[14] Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence (Collier-Macmillan Canada Ltd., 1974).

[15] Marc-André Argentino, “Digital Platforms and Extremism 2: Electric Boogaloo,” Global Network on Extremism & Technology, June 8, 2020; Tim Mak, “Facebook Becomes Key Place For Extremist Boogaloo Movement Organizers,” National Public Radio, June 6, 2020.

[16] Joseph Menn, “Facebook limits spread of ‘Boogaloo’ groups amid protests,” Reuters, June 4, 2020.

[17] Makena Kelly, “Facebook still hosts boogaloo extremist groups, report finds,” Verge, August 12, 2020.

[18] See, for example, Bennett Clifford and Helen Powell, “Encrypted Extremism: Inside the English-Speaking Islamic State Ecosystem on Telegram,” George Washington University Program on Extremism, June 2019, and Tess Owen, “How Telegram Became White Nationalists’ Go-To Messaging Platform,” VICE News, October 7, 2019.

[19] Ryan Deveraux and Sam Biddle, “On Telegram, The Paramilitary Far Right Looks to Radicalize New Recruits Ahead of Inauguration Day,” Intercept, January 12, 2021; David Neiwert, “The far right wants to make its shared ‘Boogaloo’ fantasy of violent civil war a reality,” Daily Kos, April 28, 2020.

[20] “Banning a Violent Network in the US,” Facebook, June 2020; Rachel Lerman, “Facebook removes hundreds of boogaloo accounts for ‘promoting violence’ in coordinated takedown,” Washington Post, June 30, 2020.

[21] “Banning a Violent Network in the US;” Jon Lewis, “Facebook’s Disruption of the Boogaloo Network,” Global Network on Extremism & Technology, August 5, 2020.

[22] “Banning a Violent Network in the US.”

[23] Tess Owen, “Discord Just Shut Down the Biggest ‘Boogaloo’ Server for Inciting Violence,” VICE News, June 25, 2020.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Tina Nguyen and Mark Scott, “Right-wing extremist chatter spreads on new platforms as threat of political violence ramps up,” Politico, January 12, 2021.

[26] Alex Goldenberg and Joel Finkelstein, “Cyber Swarming, Memetic Warfare and Viral Insurgency: How Domestic Militants Organize on Memes to Incite Violent Insurrection and Terror Against Government and Law Enforcement,” Network Contagion Research Institute, February 7, 2020.

[27] Evans and Wilson.

[28] Colin Clarke, “Opinion: A New Era of Far-Right Violence,” New York Times, January 22, 2021.

[29] Alex Newhouse and Nate Gunesch, “Boogaloo Movement Update: Violence, Schisms, and Bans,” Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, June 22, 2020; Alex Newhouse and Nate Gunesch, “The Boogaloo Movement Wants To Be Seen as Anti-Racist, But It Has a White Supremacist Fringe,” Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, May 30, 2020.

[30] Andy Greenberg, “The FBI Says ‘Boogaloo’ Extremists Bought 3D-Printed Machine Gun Parts,” Wired, November 4, 2020.

[31] Kriner and Clarke.

[32] Evans and Wilson.

[33] The authors are not citing examples in order to avoid amplifying extremist content.

[34] Kriner and Clarke.

[35] Based on the authors’ analysis of Facebook Boogaloo networks and legal documents related to Boogaloo crimes. For more see, Evans and Wilson.

[36] Jane Coaston, “The Virginia gun rights rally raising fears of violence, explained,” Vox, January 17, 2020.

[37] See, for example, Jacob Gallagher, “Why the Extremist ‘Boogaloo Boys’ Wear Hawaiian Shirts,” Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2020; Scot Nakagawa, “How the Hawaiian shirt was hijacked by far-right American protestors,” GQ Magazine, July 16, 2020.

[38] “Two Defendants Charged with Murder and Aiding and Abetting in Slaying of Federal Protective Service Officer at Oakland Courthouse Building;” Neil MacFarquhar and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, “Air Force Sergeant With Ties to Extremist Group Charged in Federal Officer’s Death,” New York Times, June 16, 2020; Katie Shepherd, “An officer was gunned down. The killer was a ‘boogaloo boy’ using nearby peaceful protests as cover, feds say.,” Washington Post, June 17, 2020; “DHS Press Briefing on Shooting of FPS Officers in California,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security, May 30, 2020.

[39] USA v. Steven Carrillo, “Criminal Complaint,” Northern District of California, 2020.

[40] Nate Gartrell and Fiona Kelliher, “Authorities charge alleged Santa Cruz deputy killer with assassinating federal cop in Oakland, link attacks to Boogaloo movement,” Mercury News, June 16, 2020.

[41] USA v. Steven Carrillo, “Criminal Complaint.”

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Martha Mendoza and Stefanie Dazio, “California sheriff: Gunman ‘very intent’ on killing police,” Associated Press, June 9, 2020; Nate Gartrell, “Steven Carrillo, Boogaloo-associated suspect in killing of two CA officers, has first court appearance in federal death penalty case,” Mercury News, June 23, 2020.

[46] USA v. Steven Carrillo, “Criminal Complaint.”

[47] Ibid.

[48] “Two Self-Described ‘Boogaloo Bois’ Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to Hamas.”

[49] USA v. Michael Robert Solomon and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, “Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint,” District of Minnesota, 2020.

[50] USA v. Benjamin Ryan Teeter, “Plea Agreement,” District of Minnesota, 2020.

[51] USA v. Timothy John Watson, “Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint,” Northern District of West Virginia, 2020; Greenberg; Jon Lewis, “3D-Printed Guns, Untraceable Firearms, and Domestic Violent Extremist Actors,” Global Network on Extremism and Technology, January 7, 2021.

[52] USA v. Timothy John Watson, “Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint.”

[53] Ibid.

[54] USA v. Timothy John Watson, “Detention Order,” Northern District of West Virginia, 2020.

[55] USA v. Timothy John Watson, “Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint.”

[56] USA v. Ivan Harrison Hunter, “Criminal Complaint,” District of Minnesota, 2020; Andy Mannix, “Texas member of Boogaloo Bois charged with opening fire on Minneapolis police precinct during protests over George Floyd,” Star Tribune, October 24, 2020.

[57] USA v. Ivan Harrison Hunter, “Criminal Complaint.”

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny, Tom Winter, and Corky Siemaszko, “Whitmer conspiracy allegations tied to ‘boogaloo’ movement,” NBC News, October 8, 2020; A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, Lila Hassan, and Karim Hajj, “The Boogaloo Bois Have Guns, Criminal Records and Military Training. Now They Want to Overthrow the Government,” ProPublica and FRONTLINE, February 1, 2021.

[63] “Six Arrested on Federal Charge of Conspiracy to Kidnap the Governor of Michigan;” USA v. Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta, “Criminal Complaint,” Western District of Michigan, 2020; USA v. Target Facebook Account User, “Application and Affidavit for Search Warrant,” District of Delaware, 2020; Kelly Weill, “Sixteen ‘Boogaloo’ Followers Have Been Busted in 7 Days,” Daily Beast, October 9, 2020.

[64] “AG Nessel Charges 7 under Michigan’s Anti-Terrorism Act as Part of Massive Joint Law Enforcement Investigation;” Collins, Zadrozny, Winter, and Siemaszko.

[65] State of Michigan v. Joseph Morrison and Pete Musico, “Affidavit in Support of Complaint,” State of Michigan, 2020.

[66] USA v. Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta, “Criminal Complaint;” Robert Snell, “Michigan militia members helped FBI crack alleged Whitmer kidnap plot,” Detroit News, January 22, 2021.

[67] Ibid.; Darcie Moran and Joe Guillen, “Whitmer kidnap plot: possible citizen’s arrest mentioned in March, prosecutor says,” Detroit Free News, October 23, 2020.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Robert Snell, “Accused Whitmer kidnap plotter says God gave permission to kill,” Detroit News, January 13, 2021; Melissa Nann Burke, “Delaware man headed to Michigan to face charges in Whitmer kidnapping plot,” Detroit News, October 13, 2020; Andrew Feather, “Alleged Whitmer plot ringleader, bomb maker to be held without bond,” WWMT, January 13, 2021; John Tunison, “Judge denies bond for alleged leader in Whitmer kidnapping plot, described as ‘violent extremist,’” Michigan Live, January 13, 2021.

[70] USA v. Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe, “Indictment,” District of Columbia, 2021; Jan Wolfe, “‘Bomb-making manuals’ found in home of Proud Boy who stormed U.S. Capitol,” Reuters, January 29, 2021.

[71] Charles Homans and Mark Peterson, “Out of the Barrel of a Gun,” New York Times, January 26, 2020.

[72] Felton.

[73] USA v. Christopher Ledbetter, “Criminal Complaint,” Western District of Oklahoma, 2020; USA v. Christopher Ledbetter, “Government Sentencing Memorandum Exhibit 3,” Western District of Oklahoma, 2020.

[74] USA v. Bradley Bunn, “Indictment,” District of Colorado, 2020; Jeremy Jojola, “Pipe bomb suspect’s family says he’s too dangerous to be free,” 9News, May 8, 2020.

[75] USA v. Stephen T. Parshall, Andrew Lynam, and William Loomis, “Criminal Complaint,” District of Nevada, 2020.

[76] Seamus Hughes and Devorah Margolin, “The Fractured Terrorism Threat to America,” Lawfare, November 10, 2019; Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware, “Terrorism and Counterterrorism Challenges for the Biden Administration,” CTC Sentinel 14:1 (2021); Seth Jones, Catrina Doxsee, and Nicholas Harrington, “The Escalating Terrorism Problem in the United States,” Center for Strategic & International Studies, June 17, 2020.

[77] See, for example, J.M. Berger, “The Strategy of Violent White Supremacy Is Evolving,” Atlantic, August 7, 2019; Bruce Hoffman and Colin Clarke, “The Growing Irrelevance of Organizational Structure for U.S. Domestic Terrorism,” Cipher Brief, July 2, 2020; Milo Comerford, “Confronting the Challenge of ‘Post-Organisational’ Extremism,” Observer Research Foundation, August 19, 2020.

[78] Rachael Levy, “Biden Administration Urged to Take Fresh Look at Domestic Terrorism,” Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2020; Laura Barrón-López and Natasha Bertrand, “Biden vowed to defeat domestic terrorism. The how is the hard part,” Politico, January 20, 2021.

[79] Chelsea Daymon, “LOL Extremism: Humour in Online Extremist Content,” Global Network on Extremism & Technology, October 26, 2020.

[80] Audrey Alexander and William Braniff, “Marginalizing Violent Extremism Online,” Lawfare, January 21, 2018.

[81] Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Alyza Sebenius, “Facebook Violence Curbs Thwarted by Groups Using Code Words,” Bloomberg, May 12, 2020.

[82] Kriner and Clarke.

[83] Ken Thomas and Sabrina Siddiqui, “Biden Says Rioters Who Stormed Capitol Were Domestic Terrorists,” Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2021.

[84] Mary McCord and Jason Blazakis, “A Road Map for Congress to Address Domestic Terrorism,” Lawfare, February 27, 2019; Amy Collins, “The Need for a Specific Law Against Domestic Terrorism,” George Washington University Program on Extremism, September 2020.

[85] “How Biden Administration May Address Domestic Extremism,” National Public Radio, January 18, 2021; Matt Zapotosky and Shane Harris, “Capitol attack will spur broad crackdown on domestic extremists,” Washington Post, January 23, 2021.

[86] Olga Khazan, “The Far Right’s Fear of ‘Glowies,’” Atlantic, January 25, 2021.

[87] Homans and Peterson.

[88] Neil MacFarquhar, Jack Healy, Mike Baker, and Serge F. Kovaleski, “Capitol Attack Could Fuel Extremist Recruitment For Years, Experts Warn,” New York Times, January 16, 2021; Emma Grey Ellis, “The DC Mobs Could Become a Mythologized Recruitment Tool,” Wired, January 8, 2021; Deveraux and Biddle.

[89] Jason Wilson, “The Base: Exporting Accelerationist Terror,” Southern Poverty Law Center, August 12, 2020.

[90] Jackson, Oath Keepers.

[91] Timothy Egan, “MEN AT WAR; Inside the World Of the Paranoid,” New York Times, April 30, 1995.

[92] Robert Snell, “Ruby Ridge echoes in deadly Madison Heights FBI shootout,” Detroit News, October 7, 2020.

[93] Justin L. Mack, “After fears of unrest, Indianapolis remains quiet Sunday,” Indianapolis Star, January 17, 2021.

[94] Ibid.

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