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What we know about the 4channers who may have shot 5 Black Lives Matter protesters

4channers on the way to the Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis
4channers on the way to the Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis

On Monday night, as I noted yesterday, someone (or more than one someone) shot five Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis. Witnesses to the shooting and others who have been following the protest say that the shots came from a small group of white supremacists who had been hanging around the protest for days. .

We still don’t know who pulled the trigger, but it is growing increasingly clear that most if not all of the small squad of racists at the protest were 4channers associated with the /pol/ and /k/ boards, the first a politics board overrun with racists and conspiracy theories and the second a hangout for weapons enthusiasts.

But a lot has happened since my last post, so here’s a roundup of some of the more significant developments.

The police are holding four men — all white, and all in their twenties — allegedly involved in the shooting.

According to local newspaper,  police have arrested 23-year-old Lawrence “Lance” Scarsella III, who is one of the two masked men shown driving to the protests in this video last week. (Here’s what appears to be a video of the arrest.)

Ironically, Black Powder Ranger, as Scarsella is apparently known online, was not the one brandishing the gun. BLM activists say that SaigaMarine, the gun-toting racist driving the car and spouting racist epithets, was the somewhat older Hispanic man arrested and released yesterday because he evidently had an alibi for the night of the shooting.

Two other men — identified as Daniel Thomas Macey and Nathan Gustavsson — turned themselves in to police yesterday. Newsweek reports that the police are also questioning a fourth man, Joseph Backman.

While we still don’t know the details of the shooting, someone — apparently one of the 4chan gang — sent a video to a local radio station that appears to show what happened in the minutes immediately before the shooting, in which a group of BLM protesters confronted the 4channers filming their protest. Unfortunately, the video has no sound

Videos of the racist gang at the protest — there are several making the rounds on YouTube — make it abundantly clear that they are either 4channers or others intimately familiar with 4chan lingo. One of the gang even sports a /k/ patch on his jacket.

Much of their conversation consists of little more than repitition of 4chan memes and coded language (e.g. “cultural enrichment”) that they apparently thought would conceal their racism from the Black Lives Matter crowd. No such luck for them: BLM activists figured out relatively quickly that the small group of masked men talking amongst themselves as they not-so-secretly filmed the crowd were up to no good.

Here’s one of the videos of them at the demonstration:

While the racist gang at the protests is clearly connected to 4chan, it’s not clear if any of its members are connected to broader hate movements or subcultures, from GamerGate to the militia movement.

But they are certainly steeped in racism and in America’s gun culture. Digging through the limited information on the internet about the 4chan contingent at the protests, Raw Story notes that they seem to share “a fascination with guns, video games, the Confederacy and right-wing militia groups.”

The cover photo on Scarcella’s Facebook page, for example, shows what’s known as the Bonnie Blue Confederate flag. One of his Facebook likes is OAF Nation, a veterans’ group so right-wing that it has attacked other veterans’ groups for distributing what it called ” f*ggoty ass yard signs” asking those lighting fireworks to not do so near the homes of veterans with PTSD.

Gustavsson, one of the men who turned himself in, brandishes a rifle in his Facebook profile picture as well.

SaigaMarine — apparently the man arrested and released — also posed for his Facebook profile “armed and donning full military gear, the StarTribune reports. “He describes his occupation simply as ‘Saving the Constitution.'”

I will post more when I know more.

Please email me, or post in the comments below, if you see something.

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Freemage
Freemage
6 years ago

Alan: A statement that you understand how you managed the error that caused the inadvertent offense would probably help as well. This would give folks more confidence that it wouldn’t occur again.

******

And now, my own, personal rant. This thread is about as close to on-topic as I could find in my backscrolling, so…

In Chicago, we’ve had a week of protests following the release of the video showing the shooting of Laquan McDonald. It’s an ugly business; I’m not even going to put the video up here, because it’s that triggering. You can Google it at this point. I am going to describe it, so trigger warnings for blatant police brutality and murder:

The video shows McDonald walking along the road, obviously under the influence of some drug (later identified as PCP). He is carrying a knife, but at the time, he’s just sort of holding it and walking along the road, trying to hedge away from the police vehicles that are pulling up. One cop car pulls up, an officer exits, and with no provocation by McDonald (from several feet away), opens fire in the space of about 6 seconds. He empties his 16-round clip, several of the shots striking McDonald when he’s laying flat on the ground, helpless.

This happened over a year ago. The cop was just indicted for murder, ‘coincidentally’ right after a judge ordered the video released. So that’s bad, but that’s not what has me battling nausea right now.

And the cops who were on the scene filed bogus reports saying McDonald attacked the officer, and ‘accidentally’ deleted a security tape of a nearby Burger King that would’ve shown police interacting with witnesses afterwards (it’s come out that the cops pretty much sent people home without even taking basic statements or getting contact info). But even that isn’t what has me pissed right this second (I’ve ranted before about the cover-up, but I am used to it in this city).

I’ve mentioned that I work for a media company before this. One of my tasks is taking calls from the public. I just got off the phone with a woman who is upset that the Police Superintendent has been fired because of the handling of the case. The following phrases occurred:

“This is a racist firing. He’s being fired because he’s not black.”
“What do these people want?”
“This isn’t a country for white people anymore.”
“We’re a silent majority out here, and we’re watching you.”

I think that gives a general idea of the gist of things. And because it’s not my job to call people racist-ass shitheads, I had to just bite my tongue and let that poison spill out of the damned earpiece. I am… shaking a bit.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Alan:
“I’m sorry for inadvertently giving offence, and I’ll err more on the treading-on-eggshells side in future” will suffice for me. I don’t have any desire for you to be ritually publically humiliated or anything. I’m more interested in better behaviour in future.

The specific thing I’m pissed with you about relates to your comments about the suppression of the guerrilla phase of the Anglo-Boer war. I’m not a particularly tribal person by and large, but I’m an Afrikaner and you’re an Englishman, and that means that when you use words like “efficient” to describe my great-grandparents being put into concentration camps, I find it difficult not to take great offence.

@Freemage:
That sounds very difficult. My sympathies go out to you for that. Hugs, unless you dislike hugs, in which case best wishes.

If it’s any consolation, I think your caller was inadvertently right when she said “this isn’t a country for white people anymore”, meaning “not just for white people any more”. Her racial supremacy is crumbling and she knows it, and her tears are delicious.

freemage
freemage
6 years ago

EJ: Yes, her ironic correctness was a running theme. She also said, “Thank God I don’t live there anymore.” If I weren’t an atheist, I’d’ve wholeheartedly agreed… And the hugs are always accepted in the spirit in which they are offered. Thanks.

msexceptiontotherule
msexceptiontotherule
6 years ago

“We’re a silent majority and we’re watching you”…

Great, and there’s another silent majority watching your silent majority watch us. There’s a whole lot of watching going on, and maybe people have been silent about problems for way too long. Treating people the way you want to be treated shouldn’t get to have exclusions, caveats, or conditions.

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

@ EJ

Unreserved apologies for that. Did I refer to SA? I certainly wasn’t thinking of there. If so profuse apologies. Our experiences in Sub Saharan Africa generally was not our finest hour.

On a semi related note one of my Afrikaner mate’s is always coming out with little bits of folky sayings.

On time I managed to get a Land Rover stuck sideways across a country track. As I was on move 70 of a 300 point turn to try and get unstuck he said “Alan, the horses are waiting”

I paused to digest this latest example of bush wisdom trying to figure out what the metaphor meant. Then I actually looked out of the window and saw that a load of people on horses were indeed waiting to get past.

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