A staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-leaning civil rights group notorious for branding mainstream conservative and Christians nonprofits “hate groups” and putting them on a map with Ku Klux Klan chapters, was arrested Sunday on terrorism charges for allegedly taking part in a violent riot where agitators threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police.
According to DeKalb County Jail records, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arreested Thomas Webb Jurgens, a 6-foot male with brown hair and brown eyes, on Sunday, March 5. He faces one charge of “domestic terrorism.”
Tom Jurgens works as a staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2021, after he graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2019, according to LinkedIn.
Authorities detained 35 people on Sunday, charging 23 of them each with domestic terrorism, following the riot. Jurgens’ name appears on the list.
“On March 5, 2023, a group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers,” Atlanta Police reported Sunday. “They changed into black clothing and entered the construction area and began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers.”
Protesters engaged in “Cop City” demonstrations, claiming that the new training center would propagate militarized policing and harm the environment, CNN reported.
According to police, the agitators “destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment by fire and vandalism.”
“The illegal actions of the agitators could have resulted in bodily harm,” the police added. “Officers exercised restraint and used non-lethal enforcement to conduct arrests.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As I explain in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC took the program it used to bankrupt organizations associated with the Ku Klux Klan and weaponized it against conservative groups, partially to scare donors into ponying up cash and partially to silence ideological opponents.
After the SPLC fired its co-founder amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal in 2019, a former staffer claimed that the SPLC’s accusations of “hate” are a “cynical fundraising scam” aimed at “bilking northern liberals.” Critics across the political spectrum have voiced opposition and alarm at the organization’s hate group smears.
In 2012, a terrorist targeted the Family Research Council’s headquarters in the nation’s capital, entering the lobby with a semiautomatic pistol and then shooting and wounding a guard. The man told the FBI that he found the conservative organization on the SPLC’s “hate map” and intended to kill everyone in the building.
The man later pleaded guilty to committing an act of terror and received a 25-year prison sentence. The SPLC condemned the attack, but has kept the Family Research Council on its hate map ever since.
The SPLC has no open affiliation with antifa black bloc protesters, but it condemned President Donald Trump’s 2020 move to designate antifa as a “terrorist organization,” calling it “dangerous and unjust.”
“Antifa, short for anti-fascist, is a broad, community-based movement composed of individuals organizing against racial and economic injustice,” the SPLC’s “Hatewatch” said. “Those who identify with the label represent a large spectrum of the political left. The Trump administration frequently uses the term to describe any group or individual that demonstrates in opposition to its policies. Far-right extremists use similar tactics.”
The FBI recently rescinded a memo citing the SPLC on “radical-traditional Catholics” after a whistleblower published it.
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