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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Weapons counts have been added to the charges against two men who prosecutors say are members of an anti-government extremist group who toted guns in Minneapolis during unrest following the death of George Floyd, prosecutors announced Friday.
Michael Robert Solomon, 30, of New Brighton, Minnesota, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, of Hampstead, North Carolina, are already charged with conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, for allegedly building firearms suppressors that they believed they sold to Hamas and offering to fight as mercenaries for the group.
Authorities say Solomon and Teeter are members of the “Boogaloo Bois.”
A superseding indictment adds charges of possession of unregistered firearms, specifically silencers, and unlawful possession of a machine gun.
Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. His death, captured on bystander video, sparked protests in Minneapolis and beyond.
Authorities began investigating the Boogaloo Bois after learning that some members were discussing violence and were armed during the unrest in Minneapolis. Boogaloo supporters, who use the movement’s name as a slang term for a second civil war or collapse of civilization, frequently show up at protests armed with rifles and wearing Hawaiian shirts.
According to court documents, Solomon was seen openly carrying a firearm, and Solomon and Teeter spoke about committing acts of violence against police, politicians and other targets.
Authorities say Solomon and Teeter told an informant that the views of Hamas — a Palestinian Islamic political party — aligned with their own anti-government views and that they wanted to work as mercenaries on behalf of Hamas’ armed wing so they could earn cash for the Boogaloo movement. They allegedly offered to build firearms suppressors and other weapons for the group.