Who are Boogaloo Boys? Gun-toting, anti-government militia at George Floyd protests rooting for 2nd Civil War

The Boogaloo movement first started as an internet joke and originated from the name of the 1984 sequel movie 'Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo', a coded reference to a sequel to another civil war in the US


                            Who are Boogaloo Boys? Gun-toting, anti-government militia at George Floyd protests rooting for 2nd Civil War
(Getty Images)

The widespread protests in the United States in the wake of George Floyd's death have drawn attention and active participation of many local and international groups, from members of the anti-fascist movement to gun-toting, heavily armed men who identify themselves as "Boogaloo Boys." Ever since protests broke out in Minneapolis after Floyd's killing, an unarmed black man who died in police custody after an officer kneeled over his neck for over eight minutes, there have been multiple spottings of men in armor, equipped with multiple weapons stationed outside stores to prevent looting or some participating in the protests shouting their rallying cry — Boogaloo.

So, what is Boogaloo exactly and who are these "Boogaloo Bois" making news amid the Floyd protests? It is believed that the Boogaloo movement first started as an internet joke and originated from the name of the 1984 movie 'Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo', a sequel to the film 'Breakin'. Among the Boogaloo Boys', it is considered a coded reference to a sequel to another civil war in the United States, according to an investigative journalist Robert Evans. Its members, largely comprising of gun enthusiasts, first began making its references on sites like 4chan, but they have become more prominent on social media sites, particularly Facebook, where they recruit members. 

An armed demonstrator with a gun is led away by Police during a protest at the Country Club Plaza on May 31, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Getty Images)

The movement has been burgeoning over the recent years, however, it is referred to as a loose collective which believes that a second US civil war is coming and they are ready for it. The members are largely anti-government with no particular unifying political ideology but they are referred to by some as far-right extremists. While some identify with white supremacist ideology, others distance themselves from it. They continue to remain politically divided, with many recently appearing in Floyd protests against law enforcement across the country.

Although the Boogaloo groups have attempted to portray themselves as allies of the Black Lives Matter movement, they typically tend to avoid addressing police brutality as an issue linked to race, according to Vice. Some posts in the online Boogaloo groups have been encouraging its members to set ablaze government buildings and loot police stations. Although it does not appear that the posts have materialized to any action from the members yet. However, over the past few days, there have been some instances linked to intended disruption by the members.

Hundreds of protesters march in downtown Brooklyn over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer on June 05, 2020, in New York City. (Getty Images)

Three men, on May 30, were arrested on terrorism charges after they were found filling canisters with gasoline and creating Molotov cocktails on their way to one of the George Floyd protests in Las Vegas, Nevada. The men identified themselves as members of the Boogaloo movement. The men had reportedly been plotting to bomb an electrical substation since April but decided to focus on the ongoing protests instead. The Boogaloo movement members, days earlier, were also spotted at an anti-lockdown protest, where they told a person that they intended to incite violence and spark a riot at the George Floyd protest. 

Days later, on June 5, two men were arrested in Richland County, South Carolina, for trying to incite a riot at a George Floyd protest. According to authorities, the men were members of the Boogaloo movement, both were wearing Hawaiian shirts — a distinct apparel choice for the members — at the time of the arrest, and one of them had Boogaloo patches and a flag. Both of them were heavily armed. 

The George Floyd protests against police brutality, in its initial days, witnessed a change in the narrative when Republican lawmakers, including President Donald Trump, focused on the looting and rioting that came along with it as the demonstrations intensified. The narrative shift has continued to make headlines with Trump threatening to flood American streets with federal troops to control the protests. 

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