DOJ arrests ‘White Lives Matter’ member accused of attempting to burn down church

The church held drag shows, prosecutors said.

The Justice Department announced on Friday the arrest of an Ohio man who allegedly sought to burn down a local church planning to hold two drag shows this weekend.

Prosecutors have charged Aimenn Penny, 20, with one count of malicious use of explosive materials and one count of possession of a destructive device.

They allege that on March 25, Penny used Molotov cocktails to attack the Chesterland Community Church in Chesterland, Ohio, in an attempt to burn the church to the ground.

The FBI’s Cleveland Field Office has gathered information that Penny was part of a White Lives Matter group that espouses racist, pro-Nazi and homophobic views.

A seal reading “Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation” is displayed on the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC on August 9, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

At a March 11 drag queen event in Wadsworth, prosecutors said, Penny joined members of the group who showed up carrying flags with swastikas and shouting homophobic slurs, prosecutors said. Penny attended the event wearing military-style gear and carrying a gun.

The affidavit further details what he calls Penny’s racist and homophobic activities. Last October he was questioned by police after handing out racist flyers and told them he believed African Americans were the “problem” and that there was a civil war between the races.

Investigators obtained a court order to search Penny’s phone for location data that linked him to the church scene and on Friday conducted a search of his residence where he admitted to building the Molotov cocktails and targeting the church with them.

“PENNY said he was trying to protect the children and stop the drag show,” the affidavit reads. “PENNY said that night that he became increasingly angry after watching internet videos of news feeds and drag shows in France and decided to attack the church. PENNY said that ‘He would have felt better if the Molotov cocktails were more effective and burned the whole church to the ground.’

A search of his home revealed a handwritten manifesto, a Nazi flag and other memorabilia, according to the affidavit.

ABC News

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button