Riverfront Times April 9, 2015 : Page 8

CLOTHING FROM NEW BORN TO 86" IN PANTS Men’s Dress Slack Sets up to 8X Men’s Dress Shirts up to 8X Men’s Suits to Size 72 Men’s Polo Style Shirts to 8X Short Sleeve Shirts to 8X Dickies Pants to Size 72 Dickies Shorts to Size 60 Dickies Boots to Size 14 New Era Caps up to size 8 1/2 T-Shirts up to 10X LEVIN’S Majestic Replica Molina & Alternate Saturday Ivory jersey’s and Track jacket size 3X-6X NEW Merchandise Arriving Daily! HOURS: MON-FRI 9-5 SAT 9:30-3 SUN 11-3 DANNY WICENTO W SKI ALTERATIONS AVAILABLE &#1b;>(:/05.;65‹&#1a;&#1b;&#1b;&#1a;&#1d; Olajuwon Davis, left, helped direct traffi c during an August protest in Ferguson. Stung t was the early morning of November 21 when Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Ola-juwon Davis, two members of the St. Louis chapter of the New Black Panther Party, al-legedly bought what they believed were three pipe bombs, according to court documents. Unbeknownst to Baldwin and Davis, both 22 years old, the contact who arranged the sale was an undercover agent. The two men were arrested later that same day on weapons charges stemming from a different plot — buy-ing three pistols from the Cabela’s in Hazel-wood and giving them to an unnamed felon. Citing anonymous sources, local and na-tional media trumpeted headlines about the attempted pipe-bomb purchases. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Baldwin and Davis planned to blow up the Arch and assassinate St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch and then-Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson. At the time, law-enforcement offi cials refused to confi rm or comment on the alleged bomb or assassination plans. We now know that the multiple federal and local law-enforcement agencies did in fact engi-neer a sting operation on Baldwin and Davis. A federal indictment fi led April 1 formally accused the men of trying to buy the explosives and use them to “damage and destroy, by means of ex-plosives, a building, vehicle and other property.” While the indictment doesn’t list specifi c targets, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern Dis-trict of Missouri Richard Callahan tells Daily RFT that Baldwin and Davis posed a clear danger to public safety. “I have not commented on, or will even discuss, the many different targets that these individuals considered or voiced at one time or another. A lot of their ideas were totally unreal-istic and impractical, and we didn’t include [in the indictment] all the things they rambled on about, to not sensationalize the case or make it more than it is,” he says. “That being said, the disruption of this plot...without a doubt, this saved some lives. Probably some protester lives and some law-enforcement lives.” 8 RIVERFR ONT TIMES I The investigation against Davis and Bald-win pulled resources from the FBI, U.S. Immi-gration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and St. Louis County and city police departments. According to the indictment, during the fi rst week of November both Davis and Bald-win told an undercover agent that they wanted to buy explosives. Several days later, on November 12, Cal-lahan says the agent showed Davis a video of what appeared to be a bomb detonation, a demonstration of what kind of explosives were available for purchase. Baldwin allegedly told the agent, “We need ’em, we need ’em.” Baldwin, Davis and the undercover agent made contact again, and the two would-be bombers repeatedly stated they were inter-ested in buying the explosives, court docu-ments say. On November 18, the indictment contin-ues, Davis paid a deposit on the supposed pipe bombs and told the agent, “I need it ASAP, brother. I need that motherfucker ASAP.” The timing of the November 21 arrests was significant, says Callahan. It was the same day many offi cials expected a grand jury to fi nally announce its decision on whether to fi le charges against then-Ferguson police offi cer Darren Wilson. At the time, Callahan says, the the possibility of violence breaking out in Ferguson made it all the more vital to quickly get Baldwin and Davis into custody. “No matter what happened, we were go-ing to take them off the street just for public safety,” he says. Baldwin and Davis have been jailed since their arrest. Messages left with the St. Louis and na-tional chapters of the New Black Panther Party were not returned. After the initial ar-rest, Chawn Kweli, the NBPP’s national chief of staff, posted to Facebook that the weap-ons charges were a “BOLD FACED LIE and FRAME UP,” though he added that if the al-legations against Baldwin and Davis proved true they “would be expelled from our ranks and membership terminated into perpetuity.” — D ANNY W ICENTOWSKI APRIL 9-15, 2 015 riverfronttimes.com


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