By John Friend
A prominent far-left radical activist in the Atlanta area was arrested and charged by federal authorities in early November for his role in vandalizing, defacing, and attempting to fire-bomb an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in the Georgia capital this summer.
Richard Tyler Hunsinger, a 28-year-old Antifa activist well-known in leftist circles, was charged with damaging or attempting to damage U.S. government property using fire, intimidation of a federal officer, and depredation against U.S. property, according to the Post Millennial. Hunsinger has been held in federal custody without bail since his arrest on Nov. 5.
According to federal authorities, Hunsinger was part of a Black Bloc Antifa group that attacked and vandalized the federal ICE facility in Atlanta on July 25. The group used cinder blocks, rocks, and hammers to smash out the windows of the facility, and then tossed Molotov cocktails, nail bombs, and other fire-bombs into the building. Antifa and left-wing messages were graffitied all over the building and on the streets surrounding it.
“An examination of the bottles conducted by the FBI determined they were ‘improvised incendiary devices’ (IIDs), also known as ‘Molotov cocktails,’ which are destructive devices as they contain an ignitable material, breakable container, and a wick,” an affidavit penned by a special agent with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Atlanta explained in laying out the federal charges against Hunsinger. “Agents also discovered a commercial pyrotechnic inside the DHS building. This pyrotechnic had been modified by the addition of metal nails into the body of the pyrotechnic.”
Following the assault on the federal facility, the masked far-left terrorists fled, and no arrests were made at the time. However, a pool of blood was discovered at the site, and investigators contacted local hospitals to see if anyone had visited the emergency room following the event. Hunsinger and his girlfriend Kathryn Richards, who is also an Antifa supporter, checked into a nearby hospital shortly after the event to treat a laceration Hunsinger had sustained during the assault on the facility.
According to federal officials who reviewed video footage captured by security cameras at the hospital, as well as CCTV footage from the ICE facility, Hunsinger is the same individual wearing dark clothing who was seen lighting a Molotov cocktail and throwing it into the ICE facility. “The crime scene investigation conducted by FBI recovered several items, which indicated that the individuals inside the fenced area close to the DHS Building attempted to start fires within the DHS Building,” the affidavit noted, indicating the destructive intentions of Hunsinger and his accomplices. The fire-bombs and Molotov cocktails failed to ignite, thankfully, sparing the ICE facility’s total destruction.
The protest on July 25 was part of a broader “Rally Against Fascism” organized in part by the left-wing anarchist group Youth Liberation Front. The rally was designed to show solidarity with Antifa groups in Portland who at the time were engaging in nightly acts of violence and vandalism against a federal courthouse in Portland. According to the criminal complaint against Hunsinger, his Twitter account, which has since been deleted, was one of the first to share a flyer promoting the “Rally Against Fascism” event in Atlanta.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, federal and local authorities in the Atlanta area also arrested three other individuals in November for their participation in a series of arson attacks against private property in the chaos and upheaval of last summer. Eddie Melvin Brett, Vida Messiah Jones, and John Wesley Wade were all arrested and stand accused of setting several U.S. Post Office vehicles on fire, smashing the windshield of a police cruiser, and setting one on fire, among other acts of property destruction. The men have all been denied bond, similar to Hunsinger.
Federal officials, including outgoing Attorney General William Barr, have long called on authorities to crack down on the more radical, violent terrorists, militants and agitators that have seized the opportunity presented during protests across the nation to engage in violence, criminality, looting, and destruction.
“With the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements,” Barr said earlier this year. “Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda.”
In June, several men in Gainesville, Ga., just north of Atlanta, were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to commit arson of a police car following a protest stemming from the death of George Floyd.
“While using the cover of peaceful protests in Gainesville, the defendants allegedly sought out and intentionally burned a police vehicle,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said in a statement following the indictment. “Those seeking to perpetrate criminal acts of violence toward our law enforcement officers should expect to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
News of the arrest and prosecution of far-left terrorists is certainly a welcome development in light of the widespread criminality and violence perpetrated in major American cities across the country this past year.
John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.