An upstate New York antifa member has pleaded guilty in federal court for posting an online homemade explosive recipe to social media and instructing fellow comrades to make firebombs to harm law enforcement.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York charged 27-year-old Ryan Howe, of Rochester, in October 2020 with using a facility of interstate and foreign commerce to incite, promote, and encourage a riot. Howe—who uses the pronouns "they/them" and "she/her"—is also known as "Rylea Autumn."
This week Howe pled guilty to civil disorder, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Howe's sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4. Howe, an admitted Antifa militant and communist, repeatedly called for violence and arson attacks during Black Lives Matter-Antifa rioting last year.
Howe was among nine arrested on Sept. 2, 2020, by Rochester Police at an Antifa protest outside the Public Safety Building. Several dozen had gathered to protest the death of Daniel Prude, a black man who died in police custody. The criminal complaint filed by an FBI special agent said that Howe shook the metal barricade protecting the police station and screamed to agitate the crowd to commit violence.
According to court records, Howe wrapped themselves around a street sign to resist arrest and kicked police officers to avoid being handcuffed.
According to the criminal complaint, Howe wrote a number of extremist posts throughout September 2020 that caught the attention of law enforcement.
On Sept. 8, 2020, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office alerted federal investigators to Howe's profile on Facebook, which showed Howe had espoused extreme Antifa beliefs. Howe's profile picture last year depicted them dressed in black bloc with the accompanying text, "Antifascist Action."
Howe's biography on Facebook read at the time: "Genderqueer, Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist, Anarcho-communist." Howe's public Twitter account is filled with posts identifying with Antifa and expressing support for communism. Howe's other social media posts show an immense involvement in far-left activism organized in the Rochester-area. Howe was also arrested in July 2020 at another protest.
The federal complaint cited that on Sept. 23, 2020, Howe wrote on Facebook, "Burn this sh— to the f—ng ground," in response to news that the Kentucky officer involved in Breonna Taylor's death was charged with three counts of felony wanton endangerment, rather than murder. A day later, Howe shared an online recipe on how to make a homemade Molotov cocktail and guidance on how to hurl one of the flammable objects at law enforcement officers, the complaint alleged.
Howe later posted on the same day: "Good morning to everyone ready to burn this whole f—ing country to the ground!"
The affidavit said that Howe admitted to writing the posts in an interview with an FBI agent. Howe said they obtained the online Molotov cocktail recipe from an anarchist book they had found.
Howe has since urged "mayosapians," a derogatory term for white people, to send slavery reparations on Juneteenth to black Americans and then "get the f— out." Howe uploaded an image of the "TransAnarchism" flag in honor of Pride Month.
The FBI conducted the investigation alongside the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and the Rochester Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey. The case was one of the few known federal prosecutions since violent Black Lives Matter riots began in the aftermath of George Floyd's death last May that state the suspect's explicit ties to Antifa.