Emmanuel Quinones, of Lubbock, Texas, pleaded guilty Friday to a single charge stemming from having brought a loaded rifle to a Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd.
Quinones, 23, faces up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to making threatening communications, the U.S. Department of Justice said afterward. Sentencing has not yet been set.
Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, and Quinones was arrested three days later during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest taking place in Lubbock.
Quinones admittedly brought a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle to the rally and had been holding it in the “low ready” position near protesters, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Approximately 100 people “began to panic and took action to stop Quinones’s breach of the peace,” FBI Special Agent Allen Pack wrote in an affidavit filed in federal court in northern Texas.
Quinones is seen on video placing his gun on the ground prior to being tackled by a protester and then detained by police. The Justice Department said Quinones initially refused a Lubbock police officer’s verbal command to put down his rifle and that he only did so when the officer drew a gun and the protester intervened.
Investigators later became aware that Quinones had posted threatening messages on Facebook shortly before the incident at the protest had unfolded.
“While a race riot erupted in Minneapolis the President literally retweeted a video of one of his supporters saying the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat. These people are PUSHING for America to rip itself to shreds. Disgusting. I’ll tell you right now if you keep provoking regular people we’ll make sure you never cross that line ever again. I guarantee it. #MountUp,” he posted before the protest.
Quinones later wrote on Facebook that he also planned to obtain a new gun component “to off racists and MAGA people,” referring to President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Mr. Pack, the FBI agent, wrote in an affidavit filed in the case that Quinones had shouted words to the effect of “This is a revolution” and “Trump must die” while being taken into custody.
While it is legal to openly carry a rifle in Texas, it is unlawful to display one “in a manner calculated to alarm,” Mr. Pack noted.
Sarah Gunter, a public defender representing Quinones in the case, declined to comment when reached by The Washington Times.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. Responding officers were later fired from the force and are currently facing related criminal charges.
Black Lives Matter is a decentralized movement that advocates against racial injustice. It was founded after the killer of Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager, was acquitted of murder in 2013.
Mr. Trump has previously called Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate,” and last month he claimed it was composed of “a lot of thugs.”