white nationalists from California who flew cross country to Charlottesville, after having trained MMA style to commit violence and succeeded, now face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
Benjamin Daley, 25, and Thomas Gillen, 34, both of Redondo Beach; Michael Miselis, 29, of Lawndale; and Cole White, 24, of Clayton, members of the
Rise Above Movement (RAM), assaulted a Black man, two women, and a minister, during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
“Daley, Miselis, Gillen and White, while on their way to the Unite the Right rally in Emancipation Park, and with their hands taped ready to do street battle, committed multiple acts of violence including punching, kicking, head-butting and pushing numerous people,” said the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Thomas T. Cullen.
They, reportedly, were chanting “Blood and soil!” and “White lives matter!”
1/ NEW: Federal authorities in VA announced today that 4 men have been arrested in connection with the violence at Unite the Right in Charlottesville in Aug. 2017. We’ve reported on 3 of those men before. We first identified Tom Gillen & Ben Daley in this video last October. pic.twitter.com/vg78HdOE7g
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) October 2, 2018
“Rise Above Movement is essentially a white supremacist organization that operates like an alt-right fight club,” Joanna Mendelson, a senior investigative researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said. “They romanticize themselves as these foot soldiers to fend off against the elements that threaten their white existence.”
They have about 50 members and meet regularly in public parks to train in boxing and
street fighting techniques. According to the Southern Law Poverty Center, recruitment targets men who find the idea of real world fight club appealing, and includes promotional videos of their workouts.
A group leader, Daley, who recruits and promotes hate on
Gab.ai (Twitter and Instagram accounts were suspended) and owns a tree-trimming business (according to Heavy.com) , has a prior criminal record that includes carrying a concealed weapon for which he was sentenced to seven days in jail. Miselis, an aerospace engineer, was arrested in his home, which was adorned with a wall hanging with the numeric code for Heil Hitler, “88”, along with ammunition for assault-style weapons, smoke bombs and flairs.
White and Miselis have both lost their jobs due to their involvement in Charlottesville.
An “incredible volume of
digital evidence” helped federal prosecutors identify and charge the four men, Cullen said. He said they weren’t finished investigating either and that there could be more arrests.
Rise Above Movement Crimina… by on Scribd
“Their actions were not only reprehensible but in violation of federal law,” FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Thomas Chadwick said.
During the Charlottesville rally, Heather Hayer was killed by James Alex Fields Jr. (since charged with hate crimes and murder) and several Unite the Right protestors beat counter protestor DeAndre Harris.
Jacob Scoot Goodwin of Arkansas and Alex Michael Ramos of Georgia were sentenced to eight and six years, respectively, in prison, while Daniel Patrick Gordon of Ohio has yet to be sentenced, but found guilty of beating Harris.
Richard Wilson Preston was sentenced to four years in prison for firing his gun during the rally, as he was near a school.