St. Louis-area media outlets are reporting that two New Black Panther Party men were plotting to use the Ferguson chaos that was projected post-grand jury ruling as a shield to kill Police Chief Tom Jackson and prosecutor Bob McCulloch.
Both Mr. Jackson and Mr. McCulloch have been widely assailed by defenders of Michael Brown, the teen killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.
New Black Panther Party members Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Ali Davis were taken into custody on Nov. 20 for providing false information while buying guns at Cabela’s in a suburban area of Missouri, federal prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors also said the two bought what they believed to be a pipe bomb from undercover officers and were going to blow up the iconic Gateway Arch, media previously reported.
The two have been charged so far with aiding and abetting the making of a false written statement in connection with a firearms purchase, the New York Daily News reported.
But now law enforcement say the men’s plot went much deeper — and that the two were actually going to use the violence that was projected to erupt in the streets on the heels of the grand jury ruling as a cover to kill two key Ferguson officials: Mr. McColloch and Mr. Jackson, the New York Daily News reported.
It’s not clear how Mr. Davis, who has been named as the brains in the alleged plot, or Mr. Baldwin were going to carry out the killings, the newspaper said.
But sources told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that local law enforcement had been taking the threats very seriously, posting police outside the homes of both Mr. McColloch and Mr. Jackson in the days leading up to the grand jury’s decision. And KSDK-TV reported that sources said Mr. Jackson “was warned about a plot” by federal authorities, but “not given a lot of detail.”
Federal authorities said they have recordings of the suspects’ conversations related to their plots.
The New Black Panthers, meanwhile, disdained the charges and accusations as “trumped up and baseless” and “totally unfounded,” the New York Daily News reported.
Both Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Davis pleaded not guilty to all charges earlier this week. Police say they could face more charges in the days to come.