DOJ indicts two Antifa-linked individuals from Florida for Jane’s Revenge vandalism
A federal grand jury indicted two Florida residents with alleged links to Antifa this week on charges of violating the FACE Act. According to a Justice Department press release, Caleb Freestone and Amber Smith-Stewart, both in their 20s, along with other unidentified co-conspirators, conspired to prevent access to “reproductive services health facilities.” Freestone and Smith-Stewart are accused of vandalizing a Winterhaven pregnancy resource center with slogans including “If abortions aren’t safe neither are you,” and threats such as, “We are coming for you.”
The press release made no mention of the rash of attacks conducted in the name of Pro-abortion anarchist group Jane’s Revenge although graffiti from Winterhaven incident clearly referenced the group.
According to social media posts identified by Antifa Watch, which maintains a database of individuals charged with rioting and other violence linked to Antifa, both Freestone and Smith-Stewart have self-identified as being affiliated with Miami-Dade Antifa. This would seem to confirm previous analytical judgements that Jane’s Revenge represents a front for a network of anarcho-communist affinity groups likely linked to Antifa and not a brand new organization.
The Department of Justice’s decision not to openly address the identity and nature of the conspiracy to attack pro-life pregnancy resource centers is unfortunate but not surprising as it has largely declined to recognize the organized nature of left-wing extremism for some time.
The decision to charge the Florida suspects with violations of the FACE Act, a federal civil rights violation which the DOJ has aggressively used against non-violent pro-life groups in recent months also suggests an element of politicized decision-making, creating a false equivalency between Jane’s Revenge, which has conducted multiple arsons and issued terroristic threats, and non-violent demonstrations.
The FACE act does carry potentially severe criminal penalties, including up to 12 years in prison. Florida state law enforcement officials might consider whether there is also justification for indicting suspects on state charges which reflect the violent and terroristic nature of the threats made in this case, particularly if DOJ should either fail to successfully prosecute the case or if it seeks a reduced sentence, as it has been accused of doings in other cases involving left-wing extremism.
This is the first case related to Jane’s Revenge where the DOJ has successfully identified and indicted a suspect or suspects.
EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.
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