Welcome to My QtoA, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community.

How boogaloo members allegedly used Facebook to plot a murder

0 votes
id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body">

Window with bullet hole in the guard booth where Patrick Underwood was workingBullet holes mark the guard booth where Patrick Underwood was working the night he was killed. A GoFundMe site has been set up for donations for his family.
Dara Kerr/CNET

Steven Carrillo met Robert Justus for the first time when he picked him up at the San Leandro, California, train station on May 29. But the two were already familiar with each other, according to court documents unsealed earlier this week. They'd connected in a Facebook group that was geared toward members of the far-right extremist boogaloo movement.

The two men had reportedly hatched a plan to drive to Oakland, California, and attack federal law enforcement officers, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By the end of that night, Dave Patrick Underwood, a federal security guard, would be dead and his colleague severely injured.

The alleged murder was coordinated to take place at the same time as mass protests against the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by a white police officer. For Carrillo, 32, and Justus, 30, the protests would serve as a cover for their plot, according to court documents.

Stay in the know. Get the latest tech stories from CNET News every weekday.

"Go to the riots and support our own cause," Carrillo wrote in the Facebook group, referencing the boogaloo movement's anti-government beliefs and desire to spark a second civil war. "Use their anger to fuel our fire. Think outside the box. We have mobs of angry people to use to our advantage."

Facebook has increasingly become the place where extremist fringe groups coalesce and plan. It's where anti-government, pro-gun protesters coordinated demonstrations over coronavirus quarantines and where the far-right, neo-fascist group Proud Boys schemed to infiltrate George Floyd protests. Facebook is also where the boogaloo movement has taken off over the past year. 

The movement is loosely knit and strongly opposed to law enforcement. The name comes from the 1984 cult film Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo and is used ironically to refer to a second civil war. Some members stay staunchly focused on anti-government activities and rhetoric, while others slide into white supremacist or neo-Nazi ideologies. In recent months, several boogaloo members took their activities offline and have been arrested for crimes, including building pipe bombs and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

Facebook is home to at least 125 boogaloo groups with roughly 73,000 members -- though some people might be in more than one group, according to the Tech Transparency Project, http://playersintroduction.website2.me/blog/sachin-records-in-cricket part of the nonpartisan watchdog Campaign for Accountability. More than half of the groups were formed between February and April. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a global think tank that studies extremism, has linked the growth of boogaloo members' online activity to the novel coronavirus pandemic, particularly in February and March. During those months, the institute reports, more than 200,000 posts across social media included the term "boogaloo" with a spike of 52% on Twitter, 22% on Reddit and 12% on Tumblr.

asked Jul 3 by TheresaHite (180 points)

Your answer

Your name to display (optional):
Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.