Three men loosely connected with the NATO protests have been arrested in Chicago for planning terror attacks on major police stations and businesses downtown, as well as President Obama's campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's house.
Brian Church, 20, Jared Chase, 24, and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, have been charged with criminal acts relating to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and possession of explosives. The three were arrested Wednesday evening after a raid on a Chicago apartment found them loading Molotov cocktails into the back of a truck. According to court documents, the four had travelled to Chicago from out of town ahead of the NATO protests. They spent the days leading up to the weekend training themselves and planning their course of attack. Their plans for the weekend included:
According to court documents, the men planned to first attack four Chicago police stations and destroy several squad cars with "destructive devices" in order to divert the department’s attention and resources.
While authorities were distracted by those strikes, the group intended to hit Obama’s national campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building, Emanuel’s home in Ravenswood and other downtown financial institutions, prosecutors said. The group had already done reconnaissance work on the Chicago Police Department headquarters in Bronzeville in preparation for the attack, law-enforcement officials said.
Law enforcement records say the police confiscated, "four completed Molotov cocktails... a mortar gun, swords, a hunting bow, throwing stars and knives with brass knuckle handles," plus protective equipment like, "pre-positioned shields, assault vests and gas masks to help hide their identity during the planned attacks," according to the Chicago Tribune. "These men were here to hurt people," said the state's attorney Anita Alvarez. “The individuals we charged are not peaceful protesters, they are domestic terrorists,” said Alvarez.
But the lawyers in charge of defending the three men are alleging they're being set up by the Chicago police department. According to the New York Times report on the story, the lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild in charge of defending the three are going to argue for entrapment. They say a man and a woman who were either informants or undercover officers came up with the plans and provided the three men charged with the explosive equipment.