White Nationalist Leaders in Southern California Arrested, Charged With Inciting and Participating in Riots

Federal authorities have arrested key members of a Southern California white-power group, the latest move in an ongoing effort by authorities to break the back of an organization linked to racism-fueled violence.

Robert Rundo, leader of the so-called Rise Above Movement, was taken into custody Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Two others – Tyler Laube and Robert Boman – were arrested Wednesday morning in connection with organizing and participating in riots, according to federal authorities. A third, Aaron Eason, was charged but remains at large, they said.

All four were charged with traveling to incite or participate in riots, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Private messages between group leaders, members and associates show an effort to keep their violent intentions secret, according to an FBI affidavit attached to the complaint. Daley urged members in one 2016 phone call to attend events wearing polo-style shirts and khakis, and to get military-style haircuts.

In an August 2017 exchange with someone considering joining the group, Daley said the individual would have to “change your (style) up a bit when your with us.” The associate said he could grow out his hair and drop the “boots and braces look,” the affidavit said. Daley responded: “think its time to reimagine the nationalist look and playbook, we have become predictable that needs to change.” He told another associate to keep a low profile on social media.

In private Facebook messages to the person in January, Daley said: “I would be mindful of saying anything that could be misconstrued as a call to violence. I know people who literally have had feds show up at there door over posts. (J)ust food for thought. Trust I’m not speaking in terms of morality rather practicality.”

In a hearing Wednesday, the judge in the case denied bail for Rundo, calling him a flight risk. Prosecutors argued that Rundo – who appeared in court in a white jumpsuit, mostly staring down toward his hands – had taken several trips abroad, including one to Mexico. He was picked up in Central America before he was taken into custody at the airport in L.A.

Rundo “has demonstrated and undergone a significant personal sacrifice over the past three weeks, repeatedly seeking to flee from this ongoing engagement of law enforcement,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Ryan.

Prosecutors also pointed out Rundo’s criminal history, which includes a conviction in a stabbing case, and said that when authorities searched his home, they found a large framed portrait of Adolf Hitler.

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SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, Alene Tchekmedyian and Brittny Mejia