Prosecutors said they “averted a crisis” at the Capitol by arresting 33-year-old Daniel Baker, taking him into custody on a charge involving making a threat to kidnap or injure, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida announced in a news release.
“Baker issued a call to arms for like-minded individuals to violently confront protestors gathered at the Florida Capitol this Sunday,” prosecutors said. “He specifically called for others to join him in encircling any protestors and confining them at the Capitol complex using firearms.”
Protests and rallies are expected at state Capitols across the country ahead of and on inauguration day in opposition to the election results.
“This is an armed COUP and can only be stopped by an armed community!” Baker wrote in a flyer titled “Call to Arms January 20th” posted online, a criminal complaint against him alleges (pdf).
“If you’re afraid to die fighting the enemy, stay in bed and live,” he wrote in the flyer, in which he called Trump supporters who plan to protest at the Florida state Capitol “terrorists.”
FBI agents, with assistance from local law enforcement, took Baker into custody without incident.
Baker’s lawyer declined to comment.
Baker, a former U.S. Army Airborne infantryman who was kicked out of the service, in 2017 joined the People’s Protection Units, a group fighting in Syria against ISIS and the Turkish government, prosecutors said. People’s Protection Units is a sub-affiliate of the Kurdistan’s Working Party, which is designated by the U.S. government as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
Prosecutors have called Baker a “dangerous extremist,” with the criminal complaint claiming he wished death to anyone whose ideology was different from his, including U.S. military officers.
“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,” the complaint reads.
Items of concern identified in the investigation against Baker show his “path toward radicalization as well as a fair probability for imminent violence,” the complaint states.
One of these is a Facebook post attributed to Baker, which features the statement, “I don’t give a [expletive], I’m an anarchist and I want to watch capitalist society burn.”
Another item referenced in the complaint is an interview Baker gave for an article about the fall of Seattle’s autonomous zone, in which he identified himself as a “hardcore leftist” and said he had traveled to Seattle to take part in the “Revolution.” In the article, he expressed disappointment “in the lack of violent opposition here,” referring to the occupied zone.
“If they really wanted a revolution, we needed to get AK’s and start making bombs,” Baker is quoted in the article as saying.
The complaint claims Baker authored a social media post on Oct. 20, 2020, in which he wrote that “I hope the right tries a coup Nov. 3rd cuz I’m so [expletive] down to slay enemies again.”
The FBI has warned state and local officials about unrest between now and inauguration day, following last week’s violent breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Tallahassee officials have closed City Hall and the county courthouse, which is across the street from the Capitol building, in preparation for potentially violent demonstrations, according to the Miami Herald.
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson urged Capitol employees to work remotely on Sunday because of “very likely” protests, according to the outlet.
Uncertainty heading into the weekend was a common theme among state officials and law enforcement officers, with many enhancing security based on past demonstrations or general warnings but without specific expectations about whether any protesters would actually show up outside state capitol buildings or other government offices in coming days.