Two members of the New Black Panther Party who met in Ferguson during protests over Michael Brown’s death admitted in court Tuesday they planned to blow up a police station and kill the prosecutor involved in the case.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 23-year-old Olajuwon Ali Davis and 24-year-old Brandon Orlando Baldwin each pleaded guilty to multiple explosive and gun related charges in federal court today. Federal agents who tracked the duo’s conversations by phone and text message say they planned to target Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor who handled the Michael Brown grand jury, and Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. The plot involved blowing up cars using remotely triggered bombs and also using bombs to blow up a police station.
The men were arrested last November after paying an undercover federal agent a total of $250 to purchase what they believed were three pipe bombs. Davis put up $100 and then paid another $150 three days later, when he met the agent to pick up his bombs. Baldwin said he was broke and needed to wait for his unemployment check to come in before he could contribute. In addition to buying the “bombs,” Davis and Baldwin bought guns which they intended to give to like-minded individuals in order to “be like an army.”
Davis and Baldwin were arrested just days before Prosecutor McCulloch announced no charges would be filed against Officer Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan mentioned the timing in a statement, “The disruption of this plot, coming as it did on the eve of the expected grand jury announcement, undoubtedly saved lives. Luckily for all of us, we’ll never know just how many.”
When word of the charges were initially announced, the New Black Panther Party put out a statement which concluded, “We believe the charges against Olajuwon Ali and Brandon Muhammad to be trumped up and baseless; and believe that the two men will be cleared/vindicated of any alleged wrong doing.” The statement also distanced the NBPP from acts of violence, saying, “We make clear the New Black Panther Party, does not condone and distances itself from all illegal actions or acts of terror aimed at coercing individuals through violent means; for political reasons or otherwise!”