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American News Dec 13, 2020 7:31 PM EST

Exclusive: Antifa militant arrested following domestic terrorism investigation

Federal authorities have arrested and charged a militant Antifa activist following a months-long domestic terrorism investigation into the attempting bombing of an occupied Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Atlanta.

Exclusive: Antifa militant arrested following domestic terrorism investigation
Andy Ngo U.S.

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Federal authorities have arrested and charged a militant Antifa activist following a months-long domestic terrorism investigation into the attempting bombing of an occupied Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Atlanta.

Richard Tyler Hunsinger, 28, was arrested early last month and charged with damaging or attempting to damage U.S. government property using fire, intimidation of a federal officer and depredation against U.S. property.

Richard Tyler Hunsinger in a video phone call from prison

According to the affidavit written by a special agent assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Atlanta, Hunsinger was part of a black bloc group that smashed their way into an occupied Atlanta ICE field office using cinder blocks, rocks and hammers on July 25. From there, the rioters threw a nail bomb and Molotov cocktails into the building. The outside was graffitied with messages affiliated with Antifa and far-left politics.

“An examination of the bottles conducted by the FBI determined they were ‘improvised incendiary devices’ (IIDs), also known as ‘Molotov cocktails,’ which are destructive devices as they contain an ignitable material, breakable container, and a wick,” writes the special agent in the criminal complaint. “Agents also discovered a commercial pyrotechnic inside the DHS Building. This pyrotechnic had been modified by the addition of metal nails into the body of the pyrotechnic.”

All the masked militants fled the scene but one crucial key evidence that led investigators to identify Hunsinger as a suspect was from a pool of blood at the site of the attack. Agents contacted hospitals in the area to look for patients who were seeking treatment for lacerations. Hunsinger and his girlfriend Kathryn Richards, another far-left activist, checked into the emergency department of a nearby hospital soon after the attack on the office. Security footage at the hospital showed Hunsinger wearing the same dark clothing and shoes as one of the suspects captured on CCTV lighting a suspected Molotov cocktail.

“The crime scene investigation conducted by FBI recovered several items, which indicated that the individuals inside the fenced area close to the DHS Building attempted to start fires within the DHS Building,” reads the affidavit. There were burn marks on the walls but the incendiary devices apparently failed to explode.

Richard Tyler Hunsinger and his girlfriend, Kathryn Richards

Hunsinger was arrested on Nov. 5 and has been held ever since in federal custody. A judge denied him bond, viewing him as a flight risk or too dangerous to be released into the community.

Hunsinger has deleted most of his social media accounts but what has been observed and documented show he is an extreme far-left activist who supports Antifa.

On Twitter, where he was most active, Hunsinger used the moniker “Millions of Dead Landlords” and the handle “@dickophrenic.” On July 23, he shared a flyer for an Atlanta “Rally Against Fascism” event that was organized “in solidarity with Portland.”

Far-left anarchist group Youth Liberation Front had called for “solidarity” riots across the U.S. on July 25 to support the Antifa in Portland. The call to direct action was organized at the height of nightly mass violence outside a Portland federal courthouse besieged by thousands of rioters. In addition to violence in Atlanta, solidarity riots occurred in Seattle, Oakland, Austin and other cities.

The criminal complaint notes that Hunsinger’s account appeared to be the first to share the flyer for the Atlanta direct action, suggesting he may have been an organizer.

Originally from Springfield, Va., Hunsinger has developed a reputation and following in the Atlanta-area as a prolific radical Marxist activist. He was a contributor to Cosmonaut, an online communist magazine and also frequently appeared as a guest on anti-capitalism podcasts.

But online, Hunsinger shared extremist content using an alias. (He has since deleted his Twitter account.) On Aug. 25, he retweeted a post by anti-police account “Blue Lives Splatter” that read, “holy f— this is a major burn s— down moment.” On Aug. 29, he retweeted the quote: “Looting rules. Even if it’s for no reason. Stealing is dope. F— retailers. Who gives a sh—. Steal everything. Steal this tweet.”

Since Hunsinger was jailed, his comrades and allies have campaigned for his release. Despite his extremism, he was deeply connected to leftist academics and politicians.

On Nov. 9, Daniela Aiello, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, petitioned the judge to release Hunsinger. Aiello wrote in a letter printed on the official university letterhead that Hunsinger is a “compassionate and contributing member of society.” They had worked together as far-left activists when she lived in Atlanta.

Daniela Aiello studied race and colonialism at the University of Georgia before becoming a researcher at Queen’s University in Canada

Aiello’s department head, Paul Treitz, said he was unaware of her advocating for the violent criminal suspect while representing herself in an official capacity with the university.

“The use of our institutional letterhead in such a manner is totally inappropriate and the actions of this individual [Hunsinger] do not reflect the policy or position of the Department of Geography and Planning, nor that of Queen’s University,” Treitz wrote in an email to The Post Millennial.

Vincent Fort, a former Democrat member of the Georgia State Senate and 2017 Atlanta mayoral candidate, also petitioned the court to release Hunsinger.

“l've known Mr. Hunsinger for years and he has always been someone that impressed me with his commitment to the safety and well being of people in our communities,” Fort wrote to the judge.

But Hunsinger’s biggest campaigner has been his girlfriend and possible accomplice, 32-year-old Kathryn Richards.

According to the affidavit, Richards accompanied Hunsinger to the hospital for his hand injury immediately after the attempted bombing on the ICE facility. The morning after, Hunsinger was a passenger in a vehicle that drove around the ICE building to survey the damage with a video recording. He flipped off agents investigating the scene and mouthed, “F— you.” The vehicle’s plates are registered to Richards. It is suggested in the affidavit that Richards was the driver.

Kathryn Richards and Richard Tyler Hunsinger

On Twitter, she has been posting updates about her boyfriend, including soliciting cash donations and telling comrades how to send letters to him in prison. She also appears to be one of the organizers behind the “Defend Richard” Twitter account. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is also accepting donations on behalf of Hunsinger. The far-left group provides bail money and legal aid to comrades arrested for criminal activities. Similar groups operate in Minneapolis, Portland and other cities, generating tens of millions in donations.

“We will be tied up for a long time [with] this legal process,” tweeted Richards in a thread asking for money. “[Hunsinger’s] ability to stay in touch [with] loved ones is limited to only 10 numbers per month. Phone calls cost 21 cents a minute / video calls 35 cents a minute. Being incarcerated is costly as hell.”

Richards did not respond to inquiries for comment. Hunsinger’s attorney also did not respond.

Hunsinger is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 14.

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