Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages
UPDATE: Two more people have been charged as part of investigations into NATO protesters, prosecutors said Sunday. Sebastian Senakiewicz was charged with falsely making a terrorist threat while Mark Neiweem was charged with attempted possession of explosives, reports the Associated Press. A lawyer representing protesters says police have given defense attorneys “minimal information … next to nothing.”
Saturday, May 19: The three anti-NATO protesters arrested earlier this week on charges of making Molotov cocktails had been planning attacks on President Obama’s campaign headquarters, the house of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and several police stations, according to prosecutors, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The three out-of-town men were among the nine arrested late Wednesday when police raided an apartment in Chicago’s South Side Bridgeport neighborhood as the city gets ready for the 60-nation summit that starts Sunday. On Friday, the men were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive incendiary device, reports Reuters.
Supporters of the three men say police had confused beer-making equipment with explosives, while lawyers say the police carried out the raid without a warrant or consent. Defense attorneys insist the arrest has more to do with scaring those who might be considering participating in anti-NATO protests, and said that undercover police officers were the ones who took the Molotov cocktails to the apartment, notes the Associated Press. One defense attorney told reporters two people arrested during the raid were nowhere to be found.
“We believe this is all a setup and entrapment to the highest degree,” the attorney said.
The Chicago Sun Times, however, talks to law enforcement sources who say police officers infiltrated the group and watched protesters making Molotov cocktails. “We have people watching them do it,” the source said.
The three men were identified as Brian Church, 27, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, N.H.; and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.