On October 8, 2020, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the arrests of 13 suspects accused of plotting to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Governor of Michigan, and otherwise violently overthrow the state government. The arrests were reportedly part of a planned effort between federal and state authorities, launched after evidence was discovered indicating the suspects wanted to kidnap Whitmer before the 2020 election. Typed comments will be lost if you are not logged in. While many of the hundreds of participants on Thursday wore masks, including the governor, the six-feet distancing policy wasn't followed.

[102][103], Since the kidnapping plot at one point involved an intended attack on police, state law enforcement agencies were put on high alert in response. "Education, access to health care, jobs, opportunities. She was previously Minority Leader of the Michigan Senate, from January 12, 2011 to January 1, 2015, and Prosecutor of Ingham County, from July 2, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

[94], Democrats in the Michigan Legislature renewed calls for a ban on guns in the State Capitol building in response to news of the plot, following an unsuccessful September proposal drafted in response to armed anti-lockdown protesters storming the building in April. "The fact of the matter is these protests, in a perverse way, make it likelier that we are going to have to stay in a stay-home posture," Whitmer said then.

“We are coming together. [66] However, the FBI's confidential source for the investigation said that participants met for weapons exercises in Cambria, Wisconsin, between July 10 and 12, with Croft, Garbin, and a militia member attempting to make an improvised explosive device (IED) on July 11, though the devices were defective. "[10][15][a], Ultimately, on October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court made two rulings in response to the measures: a 4–3 ruling that declared a 1945 law allowing Whitmer to enact the measures was unconstitutional, and a unanimous ruling that declared a 1976 act did not give Whitmer the power to enact the measures without legislative approval.

[66], Intentions by the group to obtain Whitmer's address reportedly went as far back as April 19, according to court records.

[27][28][29] Adam Fox and Barry Croft were accused of being the ringleaders of the plot. Fox was also heard in the recording suggesting that the group hire a realtor to find Whitmer's exact residence, collecting information on the surrounding area and recruiting individuals skilled with information technology and demolitions.

[54] Attorney General Nessel condemned the remarks as "dangerous",[106] while a number of other Michigan sheriffs expressed their outrage as well. [32] On October 15, a fourteenth suspect, Brian Higgins of Wisconsin, was charged at the state level with material support of an act of terrorism.

[40], Conspiracy theories about the alleged plot emerged on social media, wrongly claiming the Wolverine Watchmen were anarchists affiliated with the antifa and Black Lives Matter movements. Gretchen Whitmer", "Whitmer says Trump 'complicit' after feds reveal thwarted plot to kidnap her", "Mysterious Wolverine Watchmen militia group 'flew under radar, "How the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan's Democratic governor unravelled", "Sixteen 'Boogaloo' Followers Have Been Busted in 7 Days", "The Boiling Resentment Behind The Foiled Plan To Kidnap Gov.

Some social media posts promoting the theories were flagged by Facebook as part of its anti-misinformation campaign, while PolitiFact rated the posts as "Mostly False". [81], On October 26, federal prosecutors announced the FBI had found "explosive device components" and ghost guns and are considering adding federal terrorism charges after they are analyzed by experts.

Trump's daughter-in-law Lara, a campaign surrogate, later insisted he was merely "having fun" at the rally.

[48], In a series regarding extremist behavior during the 2020 elections, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concern about the political environment in the wake of the alleged plot, saying the suspects' anger and violent threats towards Whitmer is also shared by people of non-extremist backgrounds. In these communications, Fox suggested researching the governor's residence in Lansing and destroying Whitmer's boat. If Whitmer is chosen to join the ticket and Biden wins, Lt. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office says people should adhere to social distancing measures during First Amendment-protected activities. She also signed an executive directive recognizing racism as …

Jones said she is co-sponsoring a resolution, expected to be taken up next Tuesday by city council, encouraging Michigan to pass a law requiring implicit bias training for police. [47][66] Two days later on June 20, Fox invited individuals, including one confidential source, to where he was employed in Grand Rapids. "[99], Trump continued to attack Whitmer for her COVID-19 mitigation measures at a rally in Muskegon on October 17, which was matched with chants of "Lock her up! When we do that, we cannot be defeated.”, Social distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19—unless you have a great photo op. [101] At an October 27 rally in Lansing, Trump downplayed the alleged plot and continued the verbal attacks on Whitmer, which were also met with chants of "Lock her up!".

Militia organizations in the United States, 2020 United States anti-lockdown protests § Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Russia investigation origins counter-narrative, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, "FBI thwarts militia plot to kidnap Michigan governor", "Plans to kidnap Whitmer, overthrow government spoiled, officials say", "F.B.I. [66] The plot was reportedly hatched in an official capacity on June 6, among a group of about a dozen individuals meeting in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb located northwest of Columbus. Whitmer kidnap plot", "Michigan kidnapping conspirators also considered taking Virginia governor, FBI agent says", "Whitmer kidnap suspect wants out of jail. Governor Whitmer was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and elected to the Michigan State Senate in 2006 where she served... Tweets by @GovWhitmer [66] Fox, Garbin, Harris, and Franks planned to meet with an undercover FBI agent to purchase explosives on October 7, though Caserta did not attend due to work obligations, while Croft returned to Delaware prior to the meeting.

[64][82] On October 28, an unsealed search warrant revealed that some of the suspects had discussed South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster as another possible target during the early stages of planning in March. Whitmer drew criticism after she stood shoulder to shoulder with some march participants, who included Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

So I say to them: If you do not want a peaceful protest, go back to your own backyard and protest, because here we are protesting peacefully.”, Bishop Charles Ellis III, pastor of Greater Grace Temple, said the march would be replicated in several Michigan cities, including Saginaw and Kalamazoo, and hailed it as a return to the days when “the black church created the nonviolent civil rights movement in America.”. [12][17][18] This put uncertainty over enforcement of the measures and forced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – and later, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration – to circumvent it by ordering similar measures, even after the alleged plot was made public. We're gonna topple it all, dude.
[5][60] On October 19, the Wisconsin suspect was released on bail, with one of the imposed restrictions being that he not try to make contact with the other 13 defendants. [47], The FBI alleges that training first occurred on June 28 in Munith, Michigan at a militia member's property, with Fox, his girlfriend, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Caserta, and a confidential source participating in the exercises. Whitmer served in US Marines", "13 men charged in alleged kidnapping plot, many with troubled pasts", "Boss: Kidnapping plot suspect was 'on edge' recently", "Inside the basement where group allegedly plotted to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer", "Michigan militia groups try to distance themselves from alleged terrorist plot", "Airplane mechanic accused in Whitmer kidnap plot denied bond", "FBI: Suspect in Whitmer kidnapping had history of violent, threatening social media posts", "Whitmer kidnap plotter also wanted to hang Trump, other politicians, FBI says", "Delaware man charged in Michigan governor kidnap plot was pardoned by Carney last year", "Accused Gov.

She did thank law enforcement", "Trump criticizes Whitmer after FBI foiled plot to kidnap Michigan governor", "Whitmer rips Trump campaign for attacking her after alleged kidnapping plot revealed", "Gretchen Whitmer: Trump 'inciting domestic terrorism' with 'Lock her up!' The group decided that a final training exercise would be conducted later in October, though Fox pushed for an earlier date the following day.

[85], Whitmer spoke out during a livestream held after the thwarted plot was revealed by the FBI.

She had active participation in the political sector since her early days and received a decent salary being a democratic leader. [88] In an October 11 interview with Face the Nation, she said security threats against her still existed and that extremists like the Wolverine Watchmen are "finding comfort and support in the rhetoric coming out of Republican leadership from the White House to our state House. [110], A spokesperson for Facebook, which had been used by the suspects in plotting Whitmer's kidnapping, said the company would be cooperating with the FBI's investigation. I have to look at it from that angle and I'm hoping that's more what it is, in fact, these guys are innocent till proven guilty so I'm not even sure if they had any part of it. Gretchen Whitmer: Here's what we know", "6 people charged in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov.

Search warrants and arrests were executed all across Michigan. Governor Gilchrist. His next scheduled court date is November 18.

[107] Leaf later clarified his comments, claiming he simply wanted a fair trial for the accused and did not agree with their alleged actions, which he called "horrible". He brings a lifetime of experience... Whitmer Administration Announces Grants for Eligible Teachers, Support Staff, Gov.

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