Complete coverage of the Chicago NATO Summit

Suspects Targeted Rahm House, Obama HQ: Reports

Each held Saturday on $1.5 million bond

By Staff Report
|  Saturday, May 19, 2012  |  Updated 6:34 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Prosecutor Details Charges Against 'NATO 3'

Chicago Police

Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Mass.; Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, N.H, are being held on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, possession of an explosive or incendiary device and providing material support.

advertisement
Photos and Videos

Attorney: Case is "Entrapment to the Highest Degree"

Michael Deutsch, the attorney for the NATO 3, as they've become to be known, speaks to reporters outside of bond court.

Prosecutor Details Charges Against 'NATO 3'

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says the charges are the first used under the state's new anti-terrorism law.
More Photos and Videos

Three men arrested this week in a nighttime police raid planned to attack four police stations, President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house, according to court documents.

Brian Church, 22, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jared Chase, 27, of Miami; and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla., were being held on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, possession of an explosive or incendiary device and providing material support.

They were each held Saturday on $1.5 million bond.

The men were arrested Wednesday in an apartment building in the Bridgeport neighborhood. They're accused of trying to make Molotov cocktails ahead of the two-day summit that starts Sunday. 

Six others arrested with them have been released without charges.

The defendants were staying at the home of William Vassilakis. He was among those outside the courthouse Saturday and said the charges against the three men are "bogus."

Vassilakis called the police action a "scare tactic" to dissuade people from protesting.

Outside court, attorney Michael Deutsch called their arrest "a Chicago Police set-up... entrapment to the highest degree."

Deutsch said that two of the people arrested were actually undercover officers.

"From our information the so-called incendiary devices and the plans to attack police stations, to attack the mayor’s office, that’s all coming from the minds of the police informants and not coming from our clients who are non-violent protesters,” he said.

Their attorney, Sarah Gelsomino, said the men were "absolutely in shock and have no idea where these charges are coming from."

"The National Lawyers Guild deplores the charges against Occupy activists in the strongest degree," Gelsomino said in a statement decrying the charges. "It's outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it's the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest."

The accused said they weren't making explosives but homemade beer.

"We were handcuffed to a bench and our legs were shackled together. We were not told what was happening," one of the men arrested, Darrin Ammussek of Philadelphia, told NBC Chicago. "I believe very strongly in non-violence, and if I had seen anything that even resembled any plans or anything like that, we wouldn’t have been there."

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy declined to discuss the incident when asked about it Friday.

"We’re not going to talk about it, it’s an ongoing investigation that is not completed, we are not going to talk about it," he said.

The arrests sparked a Thursday evening demonstration through Lincoln Park

Betterly has previous run-ins with the law, including an arrest following the break-in at a South Florida high school last year.

Chase grew up in Keene, N.H., and moved to Boston a few years ago before becoming active in the Occupy movement, said his aunt, Barbara Chase of Westmoreland, N.H.

She said she was stunned to learn of the charges against her nephew.

"That surprised me because he's not that dumb, at least I wouldn't have thought so anyway," said Barbara Chase, a factory worker. "He always seemed harmless, but who knows? Outside influences sometimes can sway people to do things that they normally wouldn't do."

Jared Chase's father, Steve Chase, died about five weeks ago after a long struggle with a disease that left him disabled, Barbara Chase said. The family had been waiting for him to come home before having a funeral.


PDF: Bond Proffer

 


For the latest updates on NATO in Chicago, check our live blog and our special NATO section. Be a part of the conversation by using #NATORedZone on social media.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our Weather App
Stay ahead of the storm with the NBC... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out