On September 10th we published an article entitled “Antifa Arsonist Arrested Near Tacoma, WA After Live-streaming Himself.”
The decision to associate the suspect, Jeffrey Alan Acord, with the Antifa ideology has come under scrutiny since the publishing of the article and its subsequent use as source material for articles written by many larger media outlets.
As the Editor of Protester Privilege, it is ultimately my decision on whether the sources we have are sufficient to publish information in any article. It is important to me that our readers have context to how and why this decision was made.
The article was written by our staff after observing a tweet by Washington State Trooper Ryan Burke. In his tweet, Trooper Burke states that the WHP, with the help of Puyallup and Fife PD, had arrested a 36-year-old Puyallup resident for starting a fire in the median of SR-167.
During their research they were able to locate the booking information for the suspect Jeffrey Alan Acord, from there they located his social media accounts and were able to secure the Facebook Live video that the suspect streamed just prior to his arrest.
Using information from the suspect’s criminal history and archived articles from local news stations in Seattle we were able to secure a Seattle Police Department press release from November 24, 2014. This release details the arrest of Mr. Acord and stated in part that a bystander notified police that they had witnessed a man reaching under a car with a road flare in his hand. After the witness pointed the man out, Jeffrey was stopped by uniformed officers. When asked if he had any weapons, he informed the cops he had a gun in his bag and that he did not have a concealed weapons permit. The officers found the gun and in a search incident to his arrest, located a 7” fixed blade knife on his person.
When officers then asked if they could search his vehicle, he refused. After receiving a warrant, the car was searched and inside officers found a cache of ammo, an AR-15, and a box containing commercial-grade fireworks.
During the 2014 protest at which he was arrested, protesters climbed onto and blocked I-5. As police pushed to remove them from the interstate commercial-grade fireworks were fired at them.
The carrying of fixed blade weapons and the possession of commercial-grade fireworks, which are not particularly easy to acquire, are known and demonstrable tactics of Antifa. On July 25th, Andrew Duncomb, a black conservative live streamer was stabbed on video during an ongoing protest in front of the Justice Center in downtown Portland, OR. Blake Hampe, the man charged with his stabbing, has been tied to Antifa by independent journalist. The use of commercial-grade fireworks by Antifa can be witnessed nearly every night at any major protests across the country.
Members of our staff were able to contact social media friends of Mr. Acord that spoke on the condition of anonymity. These individuals were able to confirm Jeffrey’s mindset and demeanor during the time period of his arrest in 2014 through to the current day. While I am confident in the veracity of their accounts, I did not feel that quoting them within the story as anonymous sources were needed within the text of the article.
The information learned from these individuals was in close agreeance with information we were able to gain from Mr. Acord’s public social media post, including a handful of live streams that he has posted over the last few years.
Viewing the information from all sources in its totality, I feel that Jeffrey’s beliefs, particularly in the time period of his participation and arrest in the 2016 protest, closely aligned with commonly accepted tenets of the modern left-wing Antifa ideology.
Information from his social media postings since the 2016 arrest, along with that of the anonymous sources, seems to show a change of focus after the completion of the case to a less politically motivated mindset.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, we see evidence of a resurgence of that mindset in his outspoken distaste for the government lockdowns, its impact on his finances, and the local music scene in which he was very active.
This resurgence appears to be strengthened with the death of George Floyd on May 25th. Our sources confirm that he went to Seattle on the evening of May 30th, which was a night of extreme rioting and looting. We then see him in live streams participating in the June 5th Seattle protest.
While he verbalizes his support of Black Lives Matter on video and social media post after Floyd’s death, his distaste with the “Nazi Government” can still be seen in a live stream he posted to his Facebook Account on May 31st.
From Los Angeles to Kenosha to Rochester, the line between Black Lives Matter, in its extremist form, and Antifa is breaking down as bonds are made and resources are shared. The decentralized nature of both movements purposefully makes it hard to assign allegiance in the absence of an individual openly claiming it. No such claim exists in the information we have been able to obtain.
For the reasons stated above, and with weighing the information obtained by Protester Privilege Staff, I feel secure in my editorial decision to associate Jeffrey Alan Acord with the ideologies that underpin the Antifa movement.