An anti-fascist activist in Florida was sentenced to 44 months in federal prison for his social media posts that called for armed defense against possible far-right attacks on the state’s Capitol in the wake of the January 6th riots.
Daniel Baker, a 34-year-old yoga teacher and emergency medical technician trainee, had no previous criminal convictions and has already been held for 10 months of harsh pretrial detention, including seven months in solitary confinement. He never brought a weapon near a government building; he amassed no armed anti-fascist forces; he made no threats on a single individual.
And yet Baker is receiving a punishment far worse than most of the Trump supporters who perpetrated the violence and vandalism upon the Capitol complex. For example, a Texas man who joined the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol was sentenced Monday to 45 days behind bars. Others have received probation or other legal slaps on the wrist. Baker simply expressed in his posts what a lot of other Americans were feeling. The FBI had warned of the potential for armed protests at state capitols. Florida is home to over 60 far-right, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi groups recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and there are well-reported links between Florida police departments and far-right militia groups.
If there are moral arguments for physically confronting fascists — and I believe there are — they would have been of scant relevance in Baker’s case – This should have been First Amendment protected speech… my latest @theintercept on Daniel Baker https://t.co/RqzVr1u8r6
— Natasha Lennard (@natashalennard) October 16, 2021
Writing for The Intercept, Natasha Lennard details Baker’s case, where his attorney highlighted the case of a Georgia man who drove to Washington, D.C., with guns and ammunition and sent private texts threatening to shoot Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the head: “The Trump acolyte had missed the storming of the Capitol by one day due to car trouble. Like Baker, he was charged with the interstate communication of threats. Unlike Baker, he had a history of hideous, racist online speech, and direct threats. And unlike Baker, he could leave prison soon: He will be sentenced in December and faces between six months to two years in prison; his eight months of pretrial detention will count as time served. Taking into account time served, meanwhile, Baker will spend another 34 months — almost three years — in prison.”
Florida judge sentenced Daniel Baker, an anti-fascist activist, to 44 months in federal prison for social media posts that called for armed defense against possible far-right attacks on the state’s Capitol in the wake of the January 6 riots. The rioters get a slap. #Florida
— QuiteContrary (@QuiteContrary09) October 18, 2021
Read Lennard’s full profile here.