Fourth person charged in NATO summit molotov cocktail plot

By Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian
Sunday, May 20, 2012 13:19 EDT
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Chicago police SUV via Wikimedia Commons
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Sebastien Senakiewicz charged with terrorism offences, but police decline to say whether he is linked to three other arrests

A fourth person has been charged with terrorism related offences in Chicago, as protests continued with an anti-capitalist march on Saturday night.

Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, was arrested on Thursday. Police say he was planning to make molotov cocktails – the alleged goal of three others charged with terrorism offences on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday was the biggest day of protest so far in Chicago, with protesters marching through the city late into the night. One protester was injured, allegedly after being hit by a police van. A group of independent journalists reported that they were stopped and searched by officers at gunpoint.

Senakiewicz “had been planning/conspiring with more than two other individuals in the building of explosives, including molotov cocktails which were to be used/detonated during the Nato summit,” according to the police report.

It is unclear if he is linked to the three people arrested on Wednesday in a pre-emptive police raid in the Bridgeport area of the city.

Those three men – Brian Church, 20, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jared Chase, 24, from Keene, New Hampshire, and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, from Oakland Park, Florida – were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive or incendiary device.

The men’s defence attorney, Michael Deutsch, has said the three were victims of a “a Chicago police set-up, entrapment to the highest degree.”

Chicago police revealed on Saturday that undercover officers had been embedded with the three men and witnessed them making Molotov cocktails. Prosecutors said in court that one of the men had warned Chicago “doesn’t know what it’s in for” and promised “the city will never be the same”, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

But Deutsch said the undercover police officers – reportedly nicknamed “Nadia, “Mo” and “Gloves” – had “egged on” the protesters.

On Saturday, hundreds of people marched through Chicago, first to mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house, to demonstrate against the closure of mental health facilities, and later through the “Loop” downtown area of the city. On the second, larger march, police largely allowed protesters to roam freely in the streets, although as numbers dropped late into the night a protester was allegedly hit by a police vehicle.

The injured man was named by protesters as Jack Amico, an Occupy Wall Street activist. A protester was taken from the scene in a wheelchair by ambulance, reportedly to Northwestern hospital, however a spokeswoman said no one by the name of Jack Amico had been admitted.

Video footage showed a police van driving through a group of protesters, although as reports buzzed around Twitter of people having been “run over” it was unclear how exactly Amico was injured.

Footage from other angles show a khaki-clad man clinging to the bonnet of the police van as it drives forward, but that same figure is seen walking away, apparently unharmed.

Asked about the incident by reporters, Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy said a group of protesters had “swarmed on top of a police vehicle”.

“Resulting from that we have slashed tires on the vehicle. We have evidence technicians coming right now to process it. It’s got dents and bumps and handprints all over it.”

McCarthy said of the injured protester: “If something happened, where somebody’s alleging that the police vehicle is running someone over, I would presume with this number of cameras in the crowd that would be on camera somewhere and we can use it to investigate and figure out exactly what happened.”

Later in the night, livestreamers Tim Pool and Luke Radkowski said they were among a group of independent journalists who had their car pulled over by police as they returned to their apartment.

“Omfg just got stopped by 12 cop cars interrogated and searched me @timcast @Jiraffa fishy things going on now with our apartment,” Rudkowski tweeted.

He added: “Had guns drawn on me searched and interrogated while handcuffed.”

Tim Pool, a well-known independent journalist and one of the most recognisable documenters of Occupy Wall Street in New York, said he had been “cuffed at gunpoint”.

The biggest protest action of the week so far is expected in Chicago on Sunday, with organisers predicting thousands of anti-war protesters will take to the streets to voice their opposition to Nato’s policies and presence in the city. World leaders will discuss global security issues, with Nato’s withdrawal from Afghanistan high on the agenda.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

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