Man caught with machete close to DNC charged as new particulars emerge about views of white supremacy
The U.S. Capitol Police said they found Donald Craighead on Monday with the two guns in his truck and the vehicle was decorated with neo-Nazi symbols, including a swastika in the driver’s side mirror.
During a brief court hearing on Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to carrying a dangerous weapon outside the home. The indictment is a crime and Craighead could face up to five years in prison if convicted, although defendants often receive far less than the maximum legal sentence.
Affidavits from investigators included new details about the weapons. The machete was 21 inches long, while the other knife, which police initially referred to as a “bayonet” on Monday, was actually a large hunting knife with a 7.5-inch blade.
During the hearing, a defense attorney requested a psychological evaluation for Craighead. Investigators interviewing Craighead said he was delusional and showing classic signs of mental illness.
Craighead told investigators he plans to use the long knives only for defensive purposes, according to the notes of his volunteer interview.
DC Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nolan ordered Craighead to remain in jail until his next hearing. Craighead, a bald white man, was handcuffed and flanked by US marshals and wore camouflage pants.
The court documents unsealed on Tuesday shed new light on Craighead’s extremist views. Police officers said on an affidavit that he said to them, “Why do you all attract me when brown people hurt whites.” They also said he made anti-gay slurs against a prominent Hispanic author and blamed the LGBT community for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Police said in court files that they found a handwritten inscription on the car that read, “Death to others, white power”.
He told investigators that, according to court records, he did not belong to any extremist group. But police said he was wearing a shirt associated with the Boogaloo Boys when he was arrested, a violent far-right movement known for anti-government views trying to start a racial war in the US.
Craighead told investigators he plans to use the long knives only for defense purposes, according to notes from his voluntary interview released Tuesday.
National security officials have been warning of the threat posed by right-wing extremists and white nationalists with increasing concern in recent months. The Department of Homeland Security has said that disinformation about the 2020 elections and the Covid-19 pandemic has radicalized these extremists.