Michael Robert Solomon had been training for this — the moment, he said, “when the [expletive] hits the fan.”
As protests grew chaotic in the days after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, Solomon, a 30-year-old New Brighton man, joined a cadre of others clad in military garb and carrying assault rifles. They deployed around small businesses and in neighborhoods around the city and braced for an onslaught.
Solomon was there on behalf of the “Boogaloo Bois,” a loose-knit anti-government extremist movement that advocates armed revolution. Its adherents merge the in-person paramilitary activities of far-right militias with widespread mobilization on social media platforms such as Facebook. They appeared en masse earlier this year at gun rights protests in Virginia and at rallies against COVID-19 restrictions around the country. The Boogaloo Bois have since achieved greater prominence — and with it new law enforcement scrutiny — amid the unrest over Floyd’s killing.