Alleged white supremacists from Bad Axe, Taylor accused of terrorizing family

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 11:02 AM EDT
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WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Alleged white supremacists from Bad Axe and Taylor are facing charges after they were accused of terrorizing and intimidating a family in Washtenaw County last December.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced charges against 25-year-old Justen Watkins of Bad Axe and 35-year-old Alfred Gorman of Taylor on Thursday. Both are members of The Base, which she described as a violent national white supremacist group.

Nessel said both Watkins and Gorman terrorized a Dexter family in their home and posted messages to other members of The Base targeting the home. The victims allegedly saw both men dressed in dark clothing shining a light and taking photos on the family’s porch around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2019.

The photos later were uploaded for other members of The Base to see on social media with the following caption: “The Base sends greetings to Daniel Harper of the Antifa podcast ‘I Don’t Speak German’.”

Nessel said the suspects mistakenly believed Daniel Harper lived at the home in Dexter, but he never did. She said the photos taken on the family’s porch were not authorized and the social media message was intended to cause the family feel terrorized and distressed.

The suspects are facing charges of gang membership, unlawfully posting a message and using a computer to commit a crime.

The FBI and Michigan State Police arrested Watkins and Gorman early Thursday after serving search warrants at their residences. Both face up to 24 years in prison if they are convicted.

“Using tactics of intimidation to incite fear and violence constitutes criminal behavior,” Nessel said. “We cannot allow dangerous activities to reach their goal of inflicting violence and harm on the public. I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public’s safety from these serious threats.”

She said The Base was founded in 2018 and allegedly is training for a race war to establish White ethnonationalist rule in the Upper Peninsula and other parts of the United States. Members allegedly meet in person to engage in military training and prepare for an insurgency against the federal government.

Watkins is the self-appointed leader of The Base, Nessel said.

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