POLITICS

Man Faces Bomb Charges After Friends Worried He'd Attack Black Lives Matter Protesters

Cameron Swoboda later claimed he supported Black Lives Matter, writing that white privilege saved his life.
Police in St. Charles County, Missouri, arrested Cameron Swoboda on weapons charges after his friends reportedly expressed wo
Police in St. Charles County, Missouri, arrested Cameron Swoboda on weapons charges after his friends reportedly expressed worry that he would attack Black Lives Matter protesters.

A Missouri man, who friends reportedly worried would attack Black Lives Matter protesters, is facing state weapons charges after law enforcement officials say they discovered grenades, mines and pipe bombs in his possession.

Cameron Swoboda is facing several felony state weapons charges after St. Charles County police said they seized explosive devices that had been doctored with metal BBs to “increase ... lethality” and “injure or kill more people.”

“The friends of the suspect had a lot of concerns for the suspect to commit a large scale attack on groups of people,” Det. B. Reimer, a certified bomb technician who also works on an FBI task force, wrote in a probable cause statement. “They believed he was preparing for an attack on groups of protesters and voiced his dislike for Afican [sic] Americans, Hispanics, the Black Lives Matter rhetoric, and criminal justice reform.”

Swoboda’s friends, according to police, said that Swoboda thought martial law would be imposed because of COVID-19 and that he might have to “go to war” with the military or police, and that he would not hesitate to shoot or kill law enforcement.

Police seized his devices on June 22, but before Swoboda was arrested this week, he posted on Instagram about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In one post after the raid that seized his weapons, Swoboda noted he had “a life changing experience.” In another Instagram caption, posted alongside an image of the Black Lives Matter slogan and a hashtag referencing the death of George Floyd, he suggested that his interaction with police had been a learning experience that could have ended much differently if he were Black.

“I have recently seen how there is in fact white privilege in at least our corner of the US, if not the whole damn country,” he wrote in the post. “Put another way, if I was black, and I did the same thing I did four days ago, I would be dead.”

Jason Korner, an attorney for Swoboda, told HuffPost that he expects mental health issues will be a factor in the case moving forward. As Korner understands it, his client made a voluntary statement to a mandated reporter, likely a mental health counselor, whose notification to authorities triggered the investigation. It was the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that reportedly requested St. Charles County’s help on June 22, according to the police report.

“Just because he’s been charged in state court doesn’t mean the feds aren’t going to go ahead and pick it up and go forward,” Korner said. “It’s not uncommon ... to have them held on state charges while they get their ducks in a row and take a case to the grand jury.”

New of Swoboda’s arrest was first reported by St. Louis news station KSDK. A court docket indicates that a St. Charles County judge ordered Swoboda held on $50,000 bond.

The probable cause statement, obtained and redacted by HuffPost, is embedded below: