An estimated 350 cities across the country have seen protests over the last 24 hours. Thousands of Americans are taking to the streets to voice their anguish over the fatal arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
But police say small bands of the so-called “professional agitators” are taking advantage of the crisis and hijacking peaceful demonstrations. Prosecutors say some have been seen hurling bricks and Molotov cocktails at law enforcement, before hiding back into crowds to incite more violence.
According to police, 27-year-old Samantha Shader allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle. Prosecutors say she has been arrested 11 times in 11 different states. She was ordered held without bail Monday in connection to the Molotov cocktail incident. If found guilty, Shader faces a minimum of five years’ imprisonment, and up to 20 years in jail.
A photo allegedly captured a woman identified as a human rights lawyer holding a Bud Light bottle filled with gasoline and tissue paper stuffed in as a fuse. Police have reportedly dubbed her a "professional agitator."
Piles of bricks have also appeared at the scenes of major demonstrations. There has been speculation that they may have been planted there by antifa for use as projectiles aimed at cops and storefront windows.
Reuben Lael filmed a pile of bricks outside a Dallas courthouse.
“There are really people who are not a part of our movement and are taking advantage of our pain and our purpose. It's disrespectful and it will not be allowed,” Lael said.
Kansas City Police tweeted this warning: "We have learned of & discovered stashes of bricks and rocks...to be used during a riot. If you see anything like this...let us know so we can remove them."
We spoke to security expert Timothy Gallagher the managing director of the Business Intelligence and Investigation practice at Kroll.
“On occasion we've actually seen pallets of projectiles, bricks actually moved around and pre-positioned or following where the crowd is going so that the individuals in the groups can use them to inflict damage on property,” said Gallagher.