WASHINGTON — In newly released court documents, the Justice Department alleges a U.S. Army veteran and member of the “Boogaloo” movement took part in the Capitol riot – the first apparent member of the extremist movement to be formally charged in the case.
Steven Thurlow, 50, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, was arrested on Wednesday on multiple charges, including entering a restricted building without lawful authority and disorderly and disruptive conduct.
In a criminal complaint filed under seal last week, investigators say multiple tipsters sent the FBI Facebook posts from Thurlow’s account appearing to show him inside the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.
The FBI also received a photo appearing to show Thurlow in camouflage tactical gear and body armor with a “Boogaloo” patch on the front. Investigators said the photo was captioned: “Ahh nothing like a new pair of 511’s and fresh set of level IV SAPI’s in the plate carrier to go ‘peacefully protest’ with.”
According to court documents, a “level IV SAPI” is a high-level ballistic body armor plate “rated to withstand a direct hit by a high muzzle velocity armor piercing bullet.”
Thurlow served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division from 1988-1991, including a deployment in the Middle East. A LinkedIn account under his name lists his current employment as senior instructor at 210 Downrange Gunsmithing in St. Clair Shores.
While other alleged members of extremist militia groups, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, have been charged in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot, Thurlow appears to be the first alleged member of the “Boogaloo” movement to be arrested.
“Boogaloo,” according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks extremist movements around the world, is a “slang reference to a future civil war.” The Justice Department says the term is sometimes used by “militia extremists and racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” to reference an impending politically motivated civil war or uprising against the government.
Unlike groups like the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys, the “Boogaloo” movement is not an organized group, but a loose collection of individuals and militia groups that have, according to the ADL, ideologies that are “primarily anti-government, anti-authority and anti-police in nature.”
In Thurlow’s charging documents, an FBI agent claims to be aware that “a number of Boogaloo members” participated in the Capitol riot. To date, Thurlow remains the only militia member explicitly referenced as having a connection to the “Boogaloo” movement in court documents.
Thurlow is one of more than four dozen military veterans now charged in connection with the Capitol riot. An April study by researchers at George Washington University and West Point found that more than a third of the military veterans charged at that point in the riot had reported ties to domestic extremist organizations – more than four times the rate of non-military arrestees.
Thurlow’s case was unsealed Wednesday following his arrest in St. Clair Shores. An initial hearing had not yet been scheduled in the case.
We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.