by WorldTribune Staff, June 2, 2020
State and local law enforcement officials say that demonstrations over the death of George Floyd shifted in a matter of days from mostly peaceful protests to coordinated violent uprisings.
“It has elevated to an organized level across the United States from what we are all gathering in terms of the information,” U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams said during a Monday press conference. “It’s just different. It’s like a light switch going off at some point and similar conduct is going on throughout the United States.”
Williams knows a lot about anarchists, having dealt with Antifa in Portland for years.
“At some point during each protest in individual cities, law enforcement has noticed a more organized effort as at some point during the evenings, protesters fan out and engage in the same kind of criminal conduct,” Williams said.
Williams added, “people have been noticed in effect organizing those kinds of endeavors. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Andy Ngo, the Portland journalist who has followed the Antifa group for years, tweeted:
“Antifa are organized in multiple units. Scouts monitor perimeter of an area & provide live audio/text updates. There are street medics, who are trained to get injured comrades out. And there are those who carry out violence w/weapons & firebombs. They use Signal to communicate.”
Signal is an encryption app.
The level of intelligence-sharing and organization involved from what appears to be the Antifa wing has surprised authorities.
“We had no idea it was this sophisticated,” one high-ranking source within the Minneapolis Police Department, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox news.
The rioters coordinate through social media and encrypted apps on the backs of the peaceful protesters late at night, the source told Fox News.
“The rioters use different weapons like Molotov cocktails and slingshots, and even tennis rackets so they can launch rocks from a block away, and you can’t see it coming,” the source said. “We will get a lot of police calls about the KKK being somewhere, but when we go to the place, no one is there. But, even if it amounts to nothing, all those calls have to be documented.”
The NYPD believes that the rioters have operated using encrypted communications and seek external funding for bail money. One source connected to the NYPD pointed out that political and celebrity vows to bail out those arrested across the country have inflamed the situation and further emboldened the violence.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said “there clearly was coordination” among the looting faction and that “they were clearly listening to our radio traffic.”
“The number of U-Haul trucks that magically showed up in front of stores, car caravans that dropped people off and broke windows, and they were hustling the goods out into the backs of the cars,” Lightfoot added. “Absolutely, it was organized – there’s no question whatsoever about that.”
Stacy Washington, co-chair of the black conservative network Project 21, told The Washington Times that white protesters who she believes represent Antifa were responsible for property destruction in weekend protests.
“Expressing grievances to our elected officials in the form of protest is a time-honored tradition,” Washington said. “But what we are watching unfold across the country is a coordinated effort to destroy the rule of law and order in our communities and to gin up racial tension. In video after video, we see masked white protesters dressed all in black destroying property in black neighborhoods. And it’s blacks who are trying to stop the Antifa protesters from defacing small businesses.”
One point which state and local officials increasingly agree is that the riots are no longer about George Floyd.
“Let’s be very clear: The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Saturday at a press conference. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”