PAYETTE COUNTY — In light of the situation in Minneaplis, Minnesota, surrounding the controversial death of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd, the Payette County Sheriff Office is being vigilant about rumors of antifa or its supporters coming to the county.
Antifa, is described as a left-wing, anti facist, militant political activist movement, which in recent days has been linked to provoking riots throughout the nation regarding Floyd’s death. Floyd died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for about 8 minutes. The arrest was witnessed by other officers standing nearby who did nothing to stop the kneeling officer when Floyd repeatedly told the officer he could not breathe before becoming unresponsive.
In an email statement to the newspaper today, Lt. Andy Creech said the office has been monitoring a social media post with 194 shares and 62 comments as of press time, and has also put a statement on its Facebook page that the statement is false.
The false social media post reads, “Family and friends in Idaho. We were told by our Congressman that Antifa has sent a plane load of their people into Boise and three bus loads from Seattle into the rural areas. The sheriff in Payette has already spotted some of them. We were warned to lock our doors and our guns. We think they will stay in the larger communities but it is best to be prepared …”
Creech had the following to say about the post.
“The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has not had contact with and has not verified that Antifa is in Payette County. The Payette County Sheriff’s Office has not given any specific warnings to our citizens about Antifa or other organizations. The information in this social media post is not accurate.”
Due to the sweeping violence which has turned some protests into full-blown riots in cities across the United States, President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would seek to prosecute the domestic group as a terrorism entity. However, such a move has been denounced by the Department of Justice, and other current and former government officials who have expressed concern that “officially designating a U.S.-based group as a terrorist organization [a designation which is currently only for non-domestic groups] could have significant First Amendment consequences,” according to an article today on ABC News.
A civil rights investigation is underway in Floyd’s death, in which the arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest have also been dismissed from their duties, but are currently not facing charges.