Two self-proclaimed white supremacists accused of terrorizing a family in Dexter were charged with three felony counts on Thursday.
Justin Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor, face up to 20 years in prison on charges of gang membership, unlawful posting of a message, and using computers to commit a crime.
Michigan State Police and the FBI arrested the suspects Thursday morning. They're expected to be arraigned later in the day in Washtenaw County 14A-3 District Court.
Watkins is the alleged leader of The Base, a militant neo-Nazi movement that was founded in 2018 with chapters across the country. The pro-Hitler group advocates a race war against non-white people with the goal of using violence “to overthrow the existing social and political order,” according to the Anti-Defamation League
Watkins reportedly operated a “hate camp” for the group, “where he led tactical and firearms training for participants with the goal of being prepared for the violent overthrow of the government,” according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who leveled the charges against the men. Gorman is an alleged associate of Watkins and The Base.
The men are accused of targeting what they mistakenly believed was a home owned by Daniel Harper, a podcaster who combats white nationalism on “I Don’t Speak German.”
The home was owned by a man with the same name, but not the podcaster.
Nessel said Watkins and Gorman dressed in dark clothes and snapped photos of the family’s home and posted it, along with the address, on The Base’s channel on the social media platform Telegram, with the caption, “The Base sends greetings to Daniel Harper of the Antifa podcast ‘I Don’t Speak German.’”
The goal was to encourage The Base’s members to harass the family, Nessel said.
In September 2019, a U.S. Army soldier in Kansas was arrested on accusations of providing instructions online about how to build bombs to burn down Harper’s house
“Using tactics of intimidation to incite fear and violence constitutes criminal behavior,” Nessel said in a statement. “We cannot allow dangerous activities to reach their goal of inflicting violence and harm on the public. I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public’s safety from these serious threats.”
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