A federal grand jury indicted a Tallahassee man on Thursday for plotting to incite violence against demonstrators at the Florida Capitol Building in wake of the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.
Daniel Baker, an Army veteran, planned to arm himself and attack protesters at the Capitol Complex ahead of President Joe Biden‘s inauguration. He encouraged others on social media to join him.
According to a news release, Baker faces two counts of transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure.
“At a time of widespread alarm and turmoil in our nation, and at state capitals in particular, Baker’s actions clearly posed a threat to public order,” said Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“Though some media descriptions cast Baker in a sympathetic light, the indictment alleges that he sought to physically stop the expression of political views different than his own, potentially through armed violence. This office and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting public safety no matter where the threat comes from, and we are confident Baker’s actions will be properly dealt with through the judicial process.”
FBI agents arrested Baker on Jan. 15 after an investigation involving the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Tallahassee Police Department.
According to court documents, the FBI had been aware of Baker’s social media threats since October.
Baker’s YouTube channel contained dozens of videos — some teaching hand-to-hand combat, others displaying proficiency with weapons and many lamenting President Donald Trump and “terrorist Trump supporters.”
Authorities said he had a “history of expressing his belief in violent tactics” and taught others how to “incapacitate and debilitate law enforcement officers” via his social media accounts.
He also encouraged the killings of U.S. military officers, according to a criminal complaint.
“The FBI is laser-focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals who are intent on inciting violence or engaging in criminal activity,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “We will not tolerate those who seek to wreak havoc in our communities.”
Baker served only one year as a former U.S. Army Airborne infantryman before receiving an other-than-honorable discharge.
His channel also contained combat footage from his time alongside the People’s Protection Units — a nonstate group fighting in Syria against ISIS and the Turkish government.
Notably, authorities said Baker participated in numerous protests over the summer of 2020.
According to the criminal complaint, Baker was part of the CHOP/CHAZ movement in Seattle.
CHAZ refers to the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” and CHOP refers to the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest.” CHOP & CHAZ were self-declared autonomous zones made during the 2020 summer protests.
Baker’s next court appearance has not yet been scheduled.