A federal grand jury on Thursday charged four Southern California men accused of belonging to a white supremacist street gang that caused violence at political rallies across the state with conspiracy and rioting.
The members of the Rise Above Movement were accused in the indictment of traveling to the rallies with the specific purpose of “participating in hand-to-hand combat” with protesters and others while using footage of the fights to attract more recruits.
“RAM represented itself publicly as a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement,” jurors said in the indictment.
All four men — Robert Rundo, 28 of Huntington Beach, Robert Boman, 25, of Torrance, Tyler Laube, of Redondo Beach, and Aaron Eason, 38, of Anza — were charged with one count each of conspiracy.
Round, Boman and Eason were also charged with one count each of rioting.
The charges were tied to attacks at three rallies last year in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley.
Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, said Thom Mrozek, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesman, in a written statement.
Rundo, Boman, and Laube were arrested on Oct. 24, while Eason surrendered on Oct. 29.
Federal officials accused the men of assaulting two journalists at the “Make America Great Again” rally at Bolsa Chica State Beach in March 2017, which drew 2,000 people.
Boman punched a counter-protester in the back of the head, grabbed him by the back of his neck, and threw him to the ground, according to the complaint.
RAM members celebrated the attacks on a neo-Nazi website and recruited other white supremacists, including Miselis, to join them at a rally in Berkeley and combat training in San Clemente, the document states. Eason used his credit card to rent a van for the trip, according to the affidavit.
Rundo, who Mrozek said in the statement was one of RAM’s founding members, was arrested at the rally in Berkeley in April 2017 after he punched a demonstrator and a police officer, authorities said.
Robert Paul Rundo, of Huntington Beach, holds down and punches a counter-protester at a political rally at Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach on March 25, 2017, federal authorities say, as fellow alleged RAM members watch. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)
In June, the group attacked counter-protesters at an “Anti-Islamic Law” rally in San Bernardino, according to the document, and this spring, Rundo, Miselis and other Rise Above Movement members went to Germany, Ukraine and Italy to mark Adolf Hitler’s birthday and meet with European white-supremacists.
“Every American has a right to peacefully organize, march and protest in support of their beliefs – but no one has the right to violently assault their political opponents,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement.
Alt-right demonstrators, counter-protesters clash in Berkeley
Berkeley protests: Video shows white supremacist punching woman
Charlottesville riot arrests include …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics