A Tallahassee man will serve 44 months in prison after he threatened armed violence against protesters at the Florida Capitol in early January.
Daniel Baker, a self-described “hardcore-leftist,” threatened to arm himself and attack protesters in Tallahassee ahead of President Joe Biden‘s inauguration, according to the criminal complaint. He encouraged others on social media to join him with “EVERY CALIBER AVAILABLE.”
“The free exercise of speech is central to our democracy,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jason Coody. “However, the defendant’s threats of armed violence to inhibit expression of political views different than his own are both unlawful and dangerous. Today’s sentence acknowledges the defendant’s threats to incite violence and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would solicit others to join them in conducting criminal acts rather than engage in lawful debate.”
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.
Baker’s YouTube channel contained dozens of videos. Some included hand-to-hand combat tutorials, while others displayed proficiency with weapons. One video lamented President Donald Trump and his “terrorist Trump supporters.”
According to the criminal complaint, Baker 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, the criminal complaint alleges.
“This case proves that the FBI will not tolerate those who seek to wreak havoc in our communities,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “Violence designed to intimidate citizens and influence government is what the FBI’s counterterrorism team was designed to combat, and our team remains laser focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals who cross the line from expressing beliefs to violating federal law by inciting violence or engaging in criminal activity.”
Baker was among the hundreds of activists who participated in 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.
He also fought alongside the People’s Protection Units — a non-state group fighting in Syria against ISIS and the Turkish government.