A protester arrested during Black Lives Matter riots in Washington also joined similar rallies in Portland and Kenosha, police said on Aug. 31. The information came alongside the Department of Justice’s plan to probe organizations that pay certain people to move across the country and agitate protests into full-blown riots.
Police arrested 27-year-old Jeremy Vajko on the night of Aug. 29 amid clashes between law enforcement officers and rioters. The Metropolitan Police Department said Vajko drove recklessly towards a group of people near the Hay-Adams Hotel. He was released from jail the next day and all charges against him have been dropped. In addition, a judge ordered police to return Vajko’s van to him.
In an Aug. 31 press briefing with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, Police Chief Peter Newsham said that Vajko’s van had been previously sighted in riots at Portland and Kenosha, Wisconsin. The police chief also added that the van “potentially could have hit pedestrians and officers.”
Vajko, who brands himself a “street medic,” has insisted that his “Snack Van” with BLM spray-painted on its side was only used for non-violent purposes such as handing out food and water and transporting medics. He tweeted on Aug. 27 that it was “just full of free water, food and medical supplies” and that he even gave water to the people who destroyed his van.
Prior to his arrest in Washington, Vajko said in a July interview with the New York Times that he was previously in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone. He further added that he gave out Gatorade and food upon noticing the lack of nutrition and sleep deprivation of people who were in the area.
During the press briefing, Mayor Bowser said that “outside agitators” arrived in Washington “armed for battle” with fireworks, laser pointers and baseball bats. “We don’t know who they are necessarily, who funds them, who organizes them. But we know they came together to create havoc,” she added.
Bowser also made a distinction between residents who have peacefully participated in earlier protests and the said agitators who have destroyed property and targeted law enforcement, noting that there was a “shift” in the protesters involved and the kinds of tactics used.
Chief Newsham also commented during the press briefing that the violence in Washington and other cities appears to be “coordinated.” He assured, however, that law enforcement will find the ones responsible for the “organized, funded attempt to create violence” and hold them accountable. According to the police chief, 70 percent of individuals arrested during the past days were from outside the city.
The federal government has also moved to prosecute organizations responsible for the coordinated violence. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told Tucker Carlson that the Department of Justice is now “targeting and investigating” the leaders of these organizations.
The secretary also confirmed reports of “organized” groups and individuals moving to other U.S. cities such as Sacramento and Washington to agitate – as evidenced by the almost one hundred outsiders comprising the 175 protesters arrested in Kenosha.
The possibility of coordinated violence caused by paid agitators Chief Newsham brought up appears to support a theory proposed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. In a Fox & Friends interview, the senator claimed that a larger group is paying protesters to move across the country and incite riots. He also called for the FBI to be involved in taking down this “organized interstate racket” and holding the people behind it accountable.
The Kentucky senator was a first-hand witness of these chaotic protests. A mob of Black Lives Matter protesters attacked Sen. Paul, his wife Kelley and their two companions as they were walking towards their hotel, after the Republican National Convention ended on Aug. 28. The timely intervention of law enforcement officers nearby kept the senator’s group at a safe distance from the mob.
Sen. Paul later thanked police officers for protecting him and his companions against the protesters, who threatened to kill him” and “f— him up” as his group walked two blocks to the hotel they were staying in.
Black Lives Matter protests all over the country have devolved into burning, looting and marauding – with law enforcement officers being targeted by rioters. Find out more news about these riots at Rioting.news.