Weekly: 7 Jun 21

Happy June! Here’s another week’s update on what militias and the associated far-right has been up to, including:

  • A second person pleads guilty to J6 charges, Feds seek more
  • Some J6 attendees blame QAnon for their actions
  • Texas Boogaloo adherent pleads guilty

(Never ending) J6 updates

A Florida man, Paul Allard Hodgkins, has pleaded guilty to charges against him related to J6. He notably was carrying a Trump flag and wearing a Trump shirt while wandering the US Capitol Building during the storming. He was photographed carrying the flag while standing on the Senate floor, the ‘Q Anon Shaman’ standing at the desk behind him. Hodgkins is the second to plead guilty in J6 crimes, and his charge (obstruction of an official proceeding) is a felony that could net him up to 20 years and a quarter-million-dollar fine.

Joseph Hackett, another Florida man, was charged for his involvement in preparation for the storming of the Capitol. According to Federal prosecutors, Hackett coordinated planning and travel to DC. He is accused of conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and illegally entering a restricted building or grounds (plus aiding and abetting on several of the same charges).

The man who hit cops before shouting “there is a Second Amendment behind us” as a taunt was just arrested this past week, too. Sean Michael McHugh now faces eight charges related to his actions in DC on 6 January. McHugh also allegedly shouted to police officers questions about them defending “pedophiles” and “communists” and used a megaphone to encourage the crowd of hyped conservatives outside the Capitol.

Informal plea negotiations have also begun with Oath Keepers charged in the attack. Federal prosecutors say these discussions remain “preliminary”, but that they hope to fashion plea deals “over the next month or two”, allowing indictees to potentially turn over evidence for other cases in exchange for lessened punishments.

Some of those charged in J6 are blaming their actions on the misinformation around the 2020 election. Others are pointing to the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon, a set of strange theories merging anti-Semitic tropes, pseudoscience, numerology, and other general conspiracy notions about the world’s elite. Notably, QAnon is a theory now believed by 14% of US residents in a new poll, a number that expands to 25% of Republicans.

Following J6, some experts are saying that many groups (including the Proud Boys) are struggling to find their footing due to the fallout. This is something that MilitiaWatch has also generally noticed among many groups we have historically tracked.

Other misc updates

Solano County Sherriff Tom Ferrara announced he was running for re-election in 2022. Many members of Ferrara’s department were revealed to be either members or sympathizers to the III% movement, per an Open Vallejo investigation in February. Ferrara and some other representatives from the department ran a (seemingly really, really light) investigation before claiming they couldn’t find any officers who were members of these groups. One of those found to be creating far-right crafts was none other than Chris Pratt’s brother, a member of Ferrara’s force.

Note: author Scott Morris of the OV article on Solano deputies has left the publication, posting his reasoning on Twitter.

A Michigan judge is weighing a BuzzFeed request for evidence regarding the Michigan Wolverine Watchmen leader, Barry Croft. Time will tell if the ask, which other news organizations have now joined, will be successful.

Tyler Light, a Texas-based Boogaloo adherent, pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a gun after he was arrested for domestic violence. He’s at least the second Boogaloo-affiliated person to have pleaded guilty in the last month, likely opening up the doors to a number of new charges against those that these indictees have associated with previously.

Further reading

  • A review of those behind MyMilitia dot com (MBEZ)
  • On potentially how we got to J6 (Mother Jones)
  • On Carrillo’s Grizzly Scouts Boogaloo cell (Mercury News)