Two of five men arrested Monday for allegedly trying to blow up a bridge in Cleveland as part of a May Day protest also spoke of Chicago on two separate occasions, according to court documents. Phil Rogers reports.
Some of the five self-proclaimed anarchists charged with planning a bridge explosion in Cleveland also made references to the May NATO summit in Chicago, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
Douglas L. Wright, 26, and Brandon L. Baxter, 20, were among five arrested Monday for allegedly trying to blow up a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of a May Day protest. The two also spoke of Chicago on two separate occasions, a confidential source told the FBI.
Chicago police officials said the FBI informed them of the plot on Tuesday morning.
According to court documents, the group talked on Feb. 20 about plans to target various places in Cleveland, and Baxter mentioned Chicago's G-8 and the Republican convention in Tampa. The G-8 has since been moved to Camp David.
At the end of another meeting in April, "conversation turned to events after the bridge bombing," according to court documents.
The confidential source said Wright talked about the NATO Summit in Chicago as the main place they wanted to have protective gear "because there is no telling what they might have to use there."
According to documents, Wright said Chicago will be "crazier" than Cleveland because of the amount of NATO protesters.
"Wright predicted a 's***load' of people going to Chicago will be coming to Cleveland first and it will be 'off the hook' here for a week, then everyone will leave and downtown Cleveland will 'be a pile of rubble and ashes,' as anarchists in every major city in the country will ultimately be 'rioting and destroying each city.'
Wright and Baxter, along with Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested Monday by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, also were arrested.
Chicago FBI officials said Tuesday there was no evidence of a planned or credible threat to the NATO Summit or to Chicago despite the mentions in the criminal complaint.
"The FBI continues to work closely with the U.S. Secret Service and the Chicago Police Department to insure a safe and secure summit," Special Agent Ross Rice said in an email.
On Tuesday in Chicago, police guarded bank doors as Occupy protesters gathered at 10 a.m. in the Loop to demonstrate against what they call corporate greed.
At noon Occupy joined about 75 other groups at Union Park at the corner of Ashland and Lake. The larger group will march east back into the Loop, where they'll end up at Federal Plaza.