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Attorney General Dana Nessel charges local leader of white supremacist group

Posted at 5:34 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 17:34:05-04

LANSING, Mich. — Thursday Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office announced charges against the self-proclaimed leader of white supremacist group, The Base.

Arrest warrants were executed at 6:00 a.m. Thursday at residences in Bad Axe and Taylor by Michigan State Police troopers and FBI agents.

Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor were both taken into custody and are lodged at the Washtenaw County Jail.

Both have been charged with gang membership, a 20-year felony, unlawful posting of a message, a two-year felony and/or a $5,000 fine and using computers to commit a crime, a four-year felony and/or a $5,000 fine.

The two are linked to an incident in December 2019 in Dexter where a family was terrorized at their home. Allegedly, the men used threatening tactics on the premises and posted messages to other The Base members targeting the home.

“Using tactics of intimidation to incite fear and violence constitutes criminal behavior,” Nessel said. “We cannot allow dangerous activities to reach their goal of inflicting violence and harm on the public. I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public’s safety from these serious threats.”

On Dec. 11, 2019 around 11:30 p.m., the victims allege they saw Watkins and Gorman in dark clothing shining a light at and taking photos on the front porch of their home. Those photos were then uploaded to The Base’s Telegram channel with the caption “The Base sends greetings to Daniel Harper of the Antifa podcast ‘I Don’t Speak German’.”

Harper never lived at that address.

The actions of Watkins and Gorman were intended to intimidate Harper and cause the resident to feel terrorized and emotionally distraught. The photos were taken and shared without the victim family’s consent.

Watkins reportedly ran a “hate camp” for members of The Base, a group he claims to be the appointed leader of. At those camps, Watkins led tactical and firearms training with the goal of preparing for a violent overthrow of the government.

Arrest warrants were executed at 6 a.m. Thursday at the defendants' residences in Bad Axe and Taylor, Michigan by Michigan State Police troopers and FBI agents. Watkins and Gorman were both taken into custody and are to be lodged at the Washtenaw County Jail.

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