Far-Right Militia Member Intimidates Witness in Oñate Protest Shooting Case
A Three Percenter asked the witness if he was a member of Antifa and promised him more people would return to his home
An armed man and member of the far-right Three Percenter militia showed up to the house of a witness to the shooting of a protester at the Juan de Oñate statue toppling on June 15. The man only identified himself as Daniel, according to the Daily Lobo, and told the witness “he wouldn’t be the last person to show up at their home armed.”
The statue toppling in Albuquerque was part of the wave of antiracist protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
At the even Steven Baca shot a protester and members of the New Mexico Civil Guard, another right-wing militia group, came to the defense of Baca after he fired his gun.
Baca claimed self-defense, but Second Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez announced in mid-July that the case would be resurrected after initial charges were dropped.
The case has been in a preliminary trial, and it was during court proceedings on Friday that the armed man turned up to the home of a witness set to testify in the case.
Nick Estes, assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, has been in contact with the witness, and he said the man asked the witness if they were “antifa”.
This type of intimidation is not a new phenomenon in New Mexico or the United States as right-wing groups have pushed back against protests and high-profile targets.
At the University of New Mexico, the NAACP called on the FBI to investigate a racist attack against Charles Becknell Jr., director of the Africana Studies program at the university. The threatening messages alluded to lynching.
“It’s not unusual, unfortunately, for faculty to be targeted for their very right to express their academic freedom … especially at this University,” Kathy Powers, a political science professor and president of the Black Faculty Alliance, said.
Intimidation has also spilled over into street confrontation as many right-wing groups have taken the tactic of counter-protesting at Black Lives Matter events.
Demonstrations in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Stone Mountain, Georgia devolved into violence between right-wing groups and antiracist protesters.
Left-wing groups have responded to what many perceive to be racist rallies of right-wing militia groups. The original Stone Mountain event was organized by a Three Percenter group, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported dozens of heavily armed militia groups descended on the area from neighboring cities to as far away as Arkansas.
The growing tension and actions from right-wing citizen militias have been stoked by the President’s rhetoric and constant references to Antifa.
President Donald Trump has regularly called Antifa a violent group and has sought to classify them as a terrorist organization.
This has led to brazen actions against people alleged to be connected to the decentralized antifascist group. Towns and individuals have declared war on the group, and the government has looked to get involved in further tying Antifa to a foreign terrorist organization.
According to a leaked intelligence report, the Department of Homeland Security has attempted to tie Antifa to foreign organizations and has kept files on multiple Americans who fought against ISIS.
Despite these facts, the President and his administration have worked to tie Antifa and other protests to violence in an attempt to secure his reelection. Trump has tweeted Antifa conspiracy theories and called a 75-year-old protester who has knocked to the ground by police an “antifa provocateur”.