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George Floyd protests: 'Boogaloo' member held in precinct attack

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionProtesters overran the Minneapolis police station

A self-proclaimed member of a violent anti-government group has been charged with rioting during the George Floyd protests in Minnesota.

Federal prosecutors said Ivan Hunter, a 26-year-old from Texas, opened fire on a Minneapolis police precinct to escalate the unrest back in May.

He was arrested in an FBI investigation into the Boogaloo Bois extremists.

Other far-right groups have also been suspected of trying to foment violence at recent racial justice protests.

The protests began after the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody. At times, the demonstrations turned violent.

The US Attorney's Office in Minnesota has charged Mr Hunter with one count of travelling across state lines with the intent to participate in a riot. Prosecutors allege Mr Hunter had travelled from Boerne, Texas, in an effort to incite unrest with other members of the Boogaloo Bois group.

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Mr Hunter is accused of firing 13 rounds from an AK-47 style semiautomatic rifle into the police department on 28 May.

He was filmed high-fiving others and shouting "Justice for Floyd", according to the criminal complaint announced on Friday. Officials also said another person involved in the incident told authorities Mr Hunter was the one who fired the shots.

The police building was eventually set on fire by protesters.

media captionA police station was set on fire in third night of unrest in Minneapolis

Prosecutors say when he returned to Texas, Mr Hunter referenced participating in violence in Minneapolis on social media, allegedly messaging someone saying that he "set fire to that precinct with the black community".

He was stopped by police in Austin, Texas, on 3 June, as the vehicle he was in had traffic violations. He was one of three individuals in the vehicle, and he had loaded magazines for an assault rifle on his person, officers said.

There were three semi-automatic rifles in the vehicle and two loaded pistols.

image copyrightFBI criminal complaint
image captionAn image believed to be of Mr Hunter in Minneapolis from the FBI criminal complaint

Following the traffic stop, federal agents learned of his connections to the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organised extremist group that wants to overthrow the government.

Mr Hunter had an online affiliation with Steven Carrillo, another Boogaloo Bois member accused of murdering a federal officer in California.

A statement from the Minnesota US Attorney's office said Mr Hunter was arrested on 21 October in San Antonio, Texas, and appeared in court on 22 October.

Some are capitalising on the protests to engage in acts of violence against authorities. Three Boogaloo members were charged with terrorism offences in Nevada in June for alleged attempts to "spark violence" in protests.

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