ST. PAUL, Minn. - Two Texas men were charged in federal court in Minneapolis Friday with illegally possessing Molotov cocktails. Authorities say the men planned to target law enforcement during the Republican National Convention.
Twenty-two-year-old David Guy McKay and 23-year-old Bradley Neil Crowder are each charged with one count of possession of firearms that were not registered to them. The two Austin men are in custody following an initial court appearance Friday.
According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement officers overheard a conversation in which McKay said the Molotov cocktails he and Crowder made would be thrown at vehicles parked in a lot in St. Paul. The lot was used by law enforcement, and patrolled by U.S. Secret Service and the military. Police in St. Paul and Minneapolis made more than 800 convention related arrests during the four-day run of the Republican National Convention.
Nearly 400 of the arrests came on Thursday - the convention's last day. A large share of those took place Thursday evening on the Marion Street Bridge, several blocks west of the Xcel Energy Center.
Police used flash-bang grenades, smoke, pepper spray and tear gas to herd scores of protesters and several journalists onto the bridge.
Dressed in riot gear, police then blocked both ends of the bridge before ordering protesters and journalists to drop to the ground and place their hands on their heads.
Among those arrested was KARE 11 photojournalist Jonathan Malat. "I never saw any excessive force other than it was just loud and chaotic," said Malat about the tactics used to push people toward the bridge. Earlier police had given several orders for the crowd to disperse. "I was just there to cover the event," explained Malat.
The protesters were part of a much larger group that had started their anti-war march hours earlier at the state capitol.
When the marchers attempted to cross the John Ireland Bridge, a possible route to the Xcel Energy Center, police blocked the north end of the bridge as rush hour traffic passed below on Interstate 94.
Malat and several other journalists with RNC credentials were cited for unlawful assembly and released. Others on the bridge were handcuffed, loaded onto busses and taken to the Ramsey County jail.
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. and the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)