A Tallahassee man, who is a former U.S Army soldier and claims to be a member of a foreign terrorist organization, was arrested today on federal charges that he allegedly planned to violently confront and confine protesters who are expected to gather at the Florida Capitol on Sunday. He also is accused of soliciting others to help him.
According to a press release from Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, federal law enforcement agents arrested Daniel Baker today for “for transmission, in interstate commerce, of a communication containing a threat to kidnap or to injure.”
The release said Baker “issued a call to arms for like-minded individuals to violently confront protestors,” encircling any protestors and confining them at the Capitol complex using firearms.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Baker was a former U.S. Army Airborne infantryman who, after serving approximately one year, received an other-than-honorable discharge in 2007 after going AWOL before deployment to Iraq.
According to the release, “Baker has a history of expressing his belief in violent tactics. In recent days, his social media posts had escalated significantly. He specifically expressed an intent to violently disrupt protests occurring between now and Inauguration Day next Wednesday, January 20, and was actively recruiting others to join him.”
The release said, “Baker, who actively participated in multiple protests throughout the United States last summer, has used social media as a way to promote, encourage, and educate his followers on how to incapacitate and debilitate law enforcement officers.”
According to the criminal complaint, Baker identifies himself as a “hard core leftist.”
“Baker joined the CHOP/CIIAZ movement in Seattle, Washington during the summer of 2020. CHAZ refers to the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” and CHOP refers to the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest,” which is a was a protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.
“Baker has made multiple violent threats to those he claims are white supremacists, fascists, United States persons with different ideologies than his, and allies of the United States. In addition, Baker has promoted the killing of United States military officers.”
According to the release, in 2017 Baker joined the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group fighting in Syria against ISIS and the Turkish government. YPG is a sub-affiliate of the Kurdistan’s Working Party (PKK), which is designated by the United States government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. He claimed on social media that he was a trained sniper for the YPG, and he can be seen in a documentary film fighting ISIS and Turkish militants.
Baker, according to the release, is in photos and on YouTube videos with a variety of firearms, including those with high-capacity magazines. Social media posts also show that he was actively attempting to purchase additional firearms within the last 24-48 hours.
“Extremists intent on violence from either end of the political and social spectrums must be stopped, and they will be stopped,” Keefe said. “The diligent work in this case by the FBI and other public safety organizations has averted a crisis with this arrest, and we will not stop in our efforts to detect, deter, and disrupt anyone else planning to incite or commit violence.”
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Baker without incident early this morning with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Tallahassee Police Department. He will make his initial appearance virtually this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse before Magistrate Judge Charles A. Stampelos.
“In these perilous times, we are steadfastly committed to being as transparent as possible about the work your government does to protect public safety and uphold the rule of law,” Keefe said. “While extremists who plan mayhem may skulk in the shadows, it’s important that we force them into the light and bring them to justice.”