On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted four Southern California men linked to a white supremacy extremist group with planning and engaging in riots at political rallies across California. All four defendants are in federal custody, held without bail.
Anza resident Aaron Eason, Robert Rundo of Huntington Beach, Tyler Laube of Redondo Beach and Robert Boman of Torrance were indicted on one count each of conspiracy to riot, and Rundo, Boman and Eason were additionally charged with rioting. Each of the two counts carry sentences of up to five years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, all four men are members of the white supremacist organization known as the Rise Above Movement, or RAM. Rundo is allegedly a founding member of RAM.
“RAM represented itself publicly as a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement,” Thursday’s indictment said.
Prosecutors said that during their activities with RAM, the conspirators recruited other RAM members, coordinated and participated in combat training, traveled to political rallies to attack protesters, and even published photographs and videos of violent acts to advertise their activities.
In his argument for Eason’s pretrial release, defense attorney John McNicholas wrote that his client is not a member of RAM and only attended political rallies in order to protect right-wing speakers from “violent outbursts from far-left activists wearing masks,” according to court papers.
Prosecutors, however, contend Eason rented a van to drive to an April 2017 “Patriots Day” free-speech rally in Berkeley that turned violent. Videos posted online show Eason and other RAM members next to a “Defend America” sign with hands taped for fighting and faces partially covered by skeleton masks, federal authorities allege.
Last month, federal authorities arrested suspected group founder Benjamin Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach, and three others for their suspected roles in last year’s deadly far-right rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia. Daley, Thomas Walter Gillen, 24, also of Redondo Beach, Michael Paul Miselis, 29, of Lawndale, and Cole Evan White, 24, of Clayton, California, are awaiting trial in Virginia.