After the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago, online threats quickly turn into real-world violence




 

Threats of violence reached a fever pitch - reminiscent of the days leading up to the Capitol attack - following the news that the FBI raided Trump's Florida beach club to retrieve classified documents the former president may have unlawfully taken there.

After Trump himself confirmed Monday's raid at Mar-a-Lago, pro-Trump pundits and politicians rallied around declarations of "war," and Trump's ever-fervent supporters called for everything from dismantling the federal law enforcement agency to committing acts of violence against its agents. The situation escalated from there in record time, with online rhetoric boiling over quickly into real-world violence.

By Thursday, an armed man identified as Ricky Shiffer attempted to force his way into an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, brandishing a rifle before fleeing. Law enforcement pursued Shiffer and he was fatally shot during the ensuing standoff with police.

Analysts with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a nonprofit that researches extremism and disinformation, found evidence that Shiffer was driven to commit violence by "conspiratorial beliefs related to former President Trump and the 2020 election...interest in killing federal law enforcement, and the recent search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago earlier this week." He was also reportedly present at the January 6 attack - another echo between this week's escalating online threats and the tensions that culminated in political violence at the Capitol that day.

Shiffer appears to have been active on both Twitter and Truth Social, the platform from Trump's media company that hosts the former president and his supporters. As Thursday's attack unfolded, Shiffer appeared to post to Truth Social about how his plan to infiltrate the FBI office by breaking through a ballistic glass barrier with a nail gun had gone awry. "Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn't," the account posted Thursday morning. "If you don't hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it'll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops..."

In posts on Truth Social, the account implored others to "be ready to kill the enemy" and "kill the FBI on sight" in light of Monday's raid at Mar-a-Lago. It also urged followers to heed a "call to arms" to arm themselves and prepare for combat. "If you know of any protests or attacks, please post here," the account declared earlier this week.

By Friday, that account was removed from the platform and a search of Shiffer's name mostly surfaced content denouncing his actions. "Why did you censor #rickyshiffer's profile? So much for #truth and #transparency," one Truth Social user posted on Friday. Still, online conspiracies around the week's events remain in wide circulation on Truth Social and elsewhere, blaming antifa for the attack on the Ohio FBI office, accusing the agency of planting documents at Mar-a-Lago and sowing unfounded fears that well-armed IRS agents will descend on Americans in light of Friday's House passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

"'Violence against law enforcement is not the answer no matter what anybody is upset about or who they're upset with,' FBI director Christopher Wray said in light of emerging threats of violence this week. Trump appointed Wray to the role in 2017 after infamously ousting former FBI director James Comey."

Friday is also the five-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, which saw white nationalists clad in Nazi imagery marching openly through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. The ensuing events left 32-year-old protester Heather Heyer dead and sent political shockwaves through a nation that had largely grown complacent about the simmering threat of white supremacist violence.

COMMENTS

More Related News

U.S. Supreme Court to hear fight over Biden immigration enforcement policy
U.S. Supreme Court to hear fight over Biden immigration enforcement policy
  • US
  • 2022-11-29 11:03:38Z

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday is set to consider whether President Joe Biden's administration can implement guidelines - challenged by two conservative...

Steve Bannon Is Just Jealous He
Steve Bannon Is Just Jealous He's Been Replaced by Donald Trump

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/GettyStave Bannon calling out Donald Trump for hosting white nationalist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago...

GOP
GOP's new committee leaders prepare blitz of investigations

House Republicans are promising aggressive oversight of the Biden administration once they assume the majority next year, with a particular focus on the...

Missing Adult Alert issued for 79 year old Butler County man
Missing Adult Alert issued for 79 year old Butler County man
  • US
  • 2022-11-29 01:39:32Z

A Missing Adult Alert has been issued for a 79-year-old man from Butler County.

Ex-prison warden faces trial over inmate abuse allegations
Ex-prison warden faces trial over inmate abuse allegations
  • US
  • 2022-11-28 12:20:38Z

The former warden of an abuse-plagued federal women's prison known as the "rape club" goes on trial Monday, accused of […] The post Ex-prison warden faces...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy