White Nationalists Accused of Violence Appear in Court

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Three members of a California white nationalist group appeared in Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday after the FBI arrested them for organizing and participating in riots across the state.

Members of the Southern California white supremacist group Rise Above Movement (RAM) were arrested on charges of plotting riots and inciting violence, according to a criminal complaint unsealed today.

On Sunday, founding member Robert Rundo, 28, from Huntington Beach, California, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport. Two other suspects, Robert Boman, 25, of Torrance and Tyler Laube, 22, of Redondo Beach, were arrested Wednesday morning in Los Angeles County, according to an FBI spokesperson.

A fourth suspect, 38-year-old Aaron Eason from Riverside County, remains at large.

At a Wednesday afternoon hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Audero, Boman’s attorney Peter Swarth said his client’s main problem was methamphetamine use.

According to Assistant United States Attorney David T. Ryan, Boman was found earlier that day in a tree house and fled from police, first on a bicycle and then on foot.

“He just jumped off?” Audero asked.

“He did not know why he was being pursued,” Swarth said.

Audero denied Boman’s request to be placed into a drug rehabilitation facility. She also denied Laube’s attorney’s request to be released on bond.

“This is a horribly violent crime,” said Audero. “His affiliation with a violent extremist organization does not persuade me.”

Earlier in the day, Rundo was also denied bail.

Rundo founded the group in the winter of 2016-17 with Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach, according to prosecutors. Daley was arrested with three other members of the same group earlier this month, all of whom face federal charges of conspiracy and rioting during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.

According to the criminal complaint, Rundo, Boman, Laube and other members of RAM attacked counter-protesters at multiple rallies in 2017 and encouraged combat training at a park in San Clemente in Orange County.

“Rundo, Boman, Laube, and Eason, along with other RAM members, have used the internet to prepare to incite and participate in violence at various political events, have committed violent assaults while at those events, and have applauded each other for it and publicly documented their assaults in order to recruit more members to engage in further assaults,” the 26-page complaint says.

At a March 2017 “Make America Great Again” rally in Huntington Beach, California, members of RAM confronted and attacked a small group of counter-protesters, according to the complaint.

The complaint accuses Laube of grabbing a journalist and punching him three times in the face. It also says Boman kicked a counter-protester in the back and Rundo held a man on the ground and punched him in the head while other RAM members prevented anyone from intervening.

Members of the group celebrated when an article on the online neo-Nazi community forum “Daily Stormer” referred to them as “Trumpenkriegers” – fighters for Trump – and shared the article on their social media, according to evidence obtained through an FBI search warrant.

At an April 2017 rally in Berkeley, the criminal complaint says Rundo was arrested for punching a “defenseless person” and a Berkeley Police Officer.

Earlier this spring, Rundo and other members of RAM traveled to Germany, Ukraine and Italy to meet with European white supremacy extremist groups and to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday, according to the complaint.

If convicted of the conspiracy and riots charges in the complaint, Rundo, Boman, Laube and Eason could face 10 years in federal prison.

All three men are in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, with their next court appearance scheduled for November.

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