Carlos A. Matchett of Atlantic City kept furiously posting messages on Facebook for days urging violence against police – right up until FBI agents arrested him on rioting charges Wednesday.
“LET’S START A RIOT” Matchett, 30, wrote in one.
“Burn This M*****f****r Downnn!!!” read another.
Matchett also shared a post that said, in part: “The point of a riot isn’t to solve anything. The point is to f**k sh*t up since nothing could be solved to begin with.”
Then came the so-called smoking gun: A cellphone video that federal authorities said showed him helping people loot goods from smashed Atlantic City storefronts Sunday night.
Responding police found Matchett standing in the middle of the street of the area known as “The Walk” shouting obscenities at police and urging others to join him, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
“After Matchett refused orders to disperse, police arrested him,” Carpenito said Thursday. “During a search, they found a knife, a hatchet, and a jar filled with gasoline inside a backpack that he was wearing.”
Matchett already had a criminal history.
He was living in a hotel several years ago, records show, when police in Mount Holly said that Matchett and another man hacked two calves to death with an ax, set fire to a trailer and stole two vehicles and a chainsaw during a crime spree.
Following Sunday’s riot, federal authorities found a string of enraged public Facebook posts by Matchett that included photos of burning police cars, protesters assaulting officers and other mayhem that erupted during or after protests over the death of George Floyd.
Just about all of the posts -- many added within minutes of one another -- were still there on Thursday.
“F**ck yeah” Matchett wrote above a photo of a burning Pennsylvania State Police trooper’s car.
“This is what ‘don’t tread on me’ looks like,” he wrote over an illustration of a crowd descending on a Minneapolis police station amid flames.
“I will f**k you up,” Matchett wrote over a photo from another post showing police restraining a protester.
“Burn it down” he wrote in connection with a MEME that suggests torching the White House
He also shared another post that said, “WHITE PEOPLE AINT GONE LEARN UNTIL WE F**K STARBUCKS UP"
- “F**k da police.. f**k the feds"
- “Push forward"
- "BURN IT DOWN”
Matchett remained in federal custody Thursday pending a first appearance via videoconference before a U.S. magistrate judge.
He’s charged with using both Facebook and a cellphone (as a a tool of interstate and foreign commerce) with “the intent to participate in and carry on a riot.”
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency and its Joint Terrorism Task Force, whose members include the Atlantic City Police Department and New Jersey State Police, with the investigation leading to the arrest. He also thanked Atlantic City police.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel J. Vidoni of Carpenito’s Criminal Division in Camden is handling the prosecution.
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