TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Federal law enforcement agents today arrested Daniel Baker of Tallahassee for transmission, in interstate commerce, of a communication containing a threat to kidnap or to injure. Baker issued a call to arms for like-minded individuals to violently confront protestors gathered at the Florida Capitol this Sunday. He specifically called for others to join him in encircling any protestors and confining them at the Capitol complex using firearms. Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the arrest.
“Extremists intent on violence from either end of the political and social spectrums must be stopped, and they will be stopped,” Keefe said. “The diligent work in this case by the FBI and other public safety organizations has averted a crisis with this arrest, and we will not stop in our efforts to detect, deter, and disrupt anyone else planning to incite or commit violence.”
Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Baker without incident early this morning with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Tallahassee Police Department. He will make his initial appearance virtually this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse before Magistrate Judge Charles A. Stampelos.
“In these perilous times, we are steadfastly committed to being as transparent as possible about the work your government does to protect public safety and uphold the rule of law,” Keefe said. “While extremists who plan mayhem may skulk in the shadows, it’s important that we force them into the light and bring them to justice.”
Baker, a former U.S. Army Airborne infrantryman who was kicked out of the service, has a history of expressing his belief in violent tactics. In recent days his social media posts had escalated significantly. He specifically expressed an intent to violently disrupt protests occurring between now and Inauguration Day next Wednesday, January 20, and was actively recruiting others to join him. Baker, who actively participated in multiple protests throughout the United States last summer, has used social media as a way to promote, encourage, and educate his followers on how to incapacitate and debilitate law enforcement officers.
“This arrest serves as a message to anyone who intends to incite or commit violence in the Northern District of Florida: If you represent a threat to public safety, we will come for you, we will find you, and we will prosecute you,” Keefe said. “Daniel Baker’s actions show that he is a dangerous extremist, and the law-abiding public is safer now that he has been arrested. We are, and will remain, on high alert and will take all appropriate actions against credible threats to the people of our District.”
After approximately one year in the Army, Baker received an other-than-honorable discharge in 2007 after he went AWOL before his unit was to deploy to Iraq. In 2017, he joined the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group fighting in Syria against ISIS and the Turkish government. He claimed on social media that he was a trained sniper for the YPG, and he can be seen in a documentary film fighting ISIS and Turkish militants. YPG is a sub-affiliate of the Kurdistan’s Working Party (PKK), which is designated by the United States government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Baker can be seen in photos and YouTube videos with a variety of firearms, including those with high-capacity magazines. Social media posts also show that he was actively attempting to purchase additional firearms within the last 24-48 hours. A chronological account of Baker’s social media posts, along with additional information about his self-declared attempts to incite violence at past protests, can be found in the affidavit below.
“The FBI is laser focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals who are intent on inciting violence or engaging in criminal activity,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “We will not tolerate those who seek to wreak havoc in our communities. We are fully coordinating with law enforcement partners to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all citizens in the North Florida, and our partnership of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Tallahassee Police Department have been especially vital in this effort. Help from the public is also critical, and we encourage anyone with information regarding potential violence or criminal activity to contact law enforcement immediately.”
To report information, or suspicious activity, contact local law enforcement, the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), or 911 in case of emergency.
This case resulted from a collaborative investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Kunz and Lazaro Fields are prosecuting this cases.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation by a sworn affiant that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to due process, to include a fair trial, during which it is the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.