A member of a neo-Nazi group was arrested on Friday after he tried to set fire to a church in Ohio that was set to host a drag show event, according to court documents.
Aimenn D. Penny, 20, of Union, Ohio, was charged in Cleveland with one count of malicious use of explosive materials and one count of possession of a destructive device; according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities claim Penny used “Molotov cocktails against the Chester Community Church in Chesterland, Ohio, in an attempt to burn the church to the ground,” according to the Department of Justice. He said in Aenean sometimes the layer of grief.
“Despite the charging documents, the defendant found an explosive device to detonate the church,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said in a release. “The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the right of all Americans to free expression, and I commend the law enforcement on this matter.”
The FBI alleges Penny is a member of the “White Lives Matter” pro-Nazi group, according to an affidavit filed in court Friday. The FBI said the group has “racist, pro-Nazi and homophobic views.”
Penny admitted that he tried to detonate the Molotov cocktails at the church, “to protect the children and stop the event from dragging on,” according to the criminal complaint.
Ron reached out to his attorney to represent Penny but did not receive an immediate response. Penny made his initial appearance in federal court Friday and was remanded in custody. During the court hearing on Thursday, Michelle Sztul, chief clerk for the US Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Cleveland, told CNN.
The file alleges the Ohio church was targeted in the early hours of Saturday, March 25. The FBI said the church was damaged by what appeared to be Molotov cocktails and burn marks on the front door, as well as burn marks on a sign on the exterior. about the building and the broken sign to the south and the property.
Investigators recovered shards of broken glass from vodka bottles and beer bottles containing any type of cloth material, the affidavit said. A burning matchstick and a blue plastic jug filled with gasoline were found near the damaged door.
Law enforcement agencies received an order to collect historical location data from Penny’s cellphone, the affidavit said. While searching Penny’s home, agents found a Nazi flag and other Nazi memorabilia, an autograph note with ideological statements, a white Ohio Life T-shirt, a gas mask, several rolls of blue painter’s tape and a gas can, the document says.
The panel also said Penny traveled to Wadsworth, Ohio, on March 11, where she pulled the queen story of the hour to distribute propaganda flyers (yes) representing White Lives Matter Ohio’s anti-dragon queen views.
Chester Community Church, which is located in Geauga County, went ahead with hosting Hant Queen’s story hour and brunch event on Saturday, a church minister told CNN.
Rev. Jess Peacock said it’s not the first time the church has been targeted. Church officials said that in recent weeks they had received hate mail and messages containing threats of protests and violence intended to drag on from the event.
“There hasn’t been a day or two where I haven’t received hate messages from my personal phone,” Peacock said.
Peacock said he was “relieved” and “very relieved” at Friday’s arrest. When no one tries to enter the church, firebombing and drag show events will go there as planned, Pavo added.
“We have no will against this man.” We leave this to each individual. But we want each one of you to be fulfilled as much as possible. Just to send a message and think twice about attacking a synagogue, a church or a mosque. We want to see peace, not violence,” said Pavo.
First Assistant US Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler for the Northern District of Ohio said: “Violence and destruction are never acceptable to express disagreement with a particular opinion.”
“While we, as Americans, are happy to disagree with the right, the only appropriate option is to do so calmly,” Baeppler said.
If convicted, Penny could face a minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison on charges of malicious use of explosive materials and up to 10 years in prison on possession of a destructive device, according to the DOJ.