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On Sept. 5, two men from Austin, Texas, were charged in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis in connection with a plot to disrupt the Republican National Convention (RNC) held in St. Paul, Minn., last week. According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, each man was charged with one count of possessing Molotov cocktails.
In the complaint, authorities noted that one of the men, Bradley Crowder, was arrested Sept. 1 for disorderly conduct. The second man, David McKay, was apparently arrested Sept. 1 but then released. McKay was arrested a second time after a search warrant on the apartment at which he and Crowder were staying in St. Paul uncovered a total of eight completed Molotov cocktails. Authorities claim that Crowder and McKay had planned to use the Molotov cocktails against police vehicles in a parking lot near the apartment where they had stayed. According to an FBI affidavit, law enforcement officers used electronic means to monitor a conversation McKay had about using the incendiary devices. In the monitored conversation, McKay reportedly said, “…it’s worth it if an officer gets burned or maimed.”
Crowder and McKay, who were part of a small cell of activists that called itself the Austin Affinity Group, also brought a rented trailer to St. Paul that contained 35 improvised riot shields made from stolen traffic barrels. According to an FBI affidavit, the shields included protruding screws — an indication that they were not just defensive shields, but offensive weapons that could be used against the police. During the execution of the search warrant on the men’s apartment, police also recovered gas masks, slingshots, helmets and kneepads — items that underscore the protesters’ plans to actively resist the police.
RNC Welcoming Committee
The RNCWC is a self-described anarchist and anti-authoritarian organizing body created to disrupt the RNC. According to its Web site, nornc.org, the group’s purpose was to “crash the convention” and shut down and disrupt the RNC.
The RNCWC’s plan was to provide a loose organizational framework that would help integrate and coordinate the efforts of affinity groups from around the country — including the Austin affinity group headed by Crowder that included McKay. The affinity groups, which are in effect autonomous cells, were then expected to develop their own individual tactical plans and implement them. The RNCWC would provide assistance with logistics and coordination between the various affinity groups.