A Black Lives Matter rioter who was arrested in Washington DC on Saturday has also been distributing food, water and medical supplies to rioters in cities across the country in recent months, according to police, as they revealed they are looking into whether radical agitators and groups are being funded to travel to hotspots.
Jeremy Vajko, 27, who was arrested on Saturday night during violent clashes between police and protesters in the nation’s capital, had been working as a senior engineer at Bill Gates’ Microsoft in Seattle until May when he hit the road, supporting BLM by attending riots in Democrat-run hotspots.
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The Metropolitan Police Department incident report into his arrest claims he was driving recklessly near the Hay Adams hotel and drove ‘into a crowd of over one hundred individuals’.
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On Monday, police chief Peter Newsham referred to the van and said it had also been spotted in Portland and Kenosha.
He did not mention Vajko by name, but he and Mayor Muriel Bowsers both said the city was investigating whether or not funded groups traveled to the city to create havoc over the weekend.
‘There was a reckless driving arrest that received a lot of attention.
‘There was a van that was driving recklessly, potentially could have hit pedestrians and officers in the area. The driver was taken into custody.
‘That vehicle was van, it was registered on the west coast in Washington state. We have intelligence to suggest that van was also at some of the violence we saw in Portland, Oregon and some of the violent activity we saw in Kenosha...
‘One of the things that we’re certainly going to do it if it is an organized, funded attempt to create violence in our city, we’re going to do everything we can to get to the bottom of it,’ he said.
‘I think there’s a potential that it could be the case… it could be domestic terrorism,‘ he said, talking more generally about the protests and unrest.
Mayor Bowser said that there was evidence that many had come from other cities and states.
‘We’ve had experience all summer with protest and we’re seeing a shift with who’s involved and the type of tactics being used.
‘I don’t think anything that we have found can connect any outside protester to a single group or funded or organization. Though I don’t think it would be a big leap to say that the type of organization and resources that they’re bringing to bear are organized and funded. I don’t think that would be a big leap.
‘Our intelligence, I know the chief will tap into our federal resources as well, to find out any intelligence we can,‘ she said.
Vajko is from Seattle and, according to his LinkedIn page, works for Microsoft as a “Senior QA Specialist.” On Twitter, he says he worked ‘in tech’. Microsoft has not commented on whether or not he still works for them.
After being released from custody, he said he had just been handing out water.
‘I was out there at the protest. I was handing out water, snacks, food and medical supplies. I had an EMT in my car… we were actively helping people and making s**t out there safe.
‘As they were walking towards me, I tried to move out of the way. At which point, an officer violently smashed my window and grabbed me out of my vehicle and forced me onto the ground.
‘They tried charging me with reckless driving however the District of Columbia asked them to release me and cancel the bond.
‘I ended up for two days in jail in bad conditions, freezing conditions. They refused to give me a toothbrush… as it stands, I did not do anything criminal or wrong,’ he said.
In June, Vajko was arrested in Portland for interfering with a police officer.
He was let go without bond. In July, he was arrested again in Portland on the same charge and with an additional charge of disorderly conduct. He was let go again.
In Kenosha, he claims he was stopped by police and had the van searched. It is unclear if he was arrested.
A Kenosha Police Department press release on August 27 refers to a group of vehicles that were stopped in a parking lot for acting suspiciously. The release did not give any of the group’s names, but said they had helmets, protective vests and illegal fireworks in their vehicles.
Vajko claimed on social media at the time that he was pulled over for having an out-of-state plate. He said he was threatened by six cops, including one who had an ‘AR’.
He insists that he is peaceful and has been acting alone since the start of the unrest in May.
He started in the autonomous zone in Seattle – that was known as CHAZ or CHOP – then started traveling around the country in his van to give out snacks because he ‘noticed there were problems with nutrition’.
Videos he has posted online show right-wing group Proud Boys smashing the windows of his van in Portland.
He also claims he has been followed by under cover police units.
Right-wing commentators online call him a ‘professional agitator’ – a label he resists.
He did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries on Tuesday but has said on Twitter that he is acting alone and is not part of any larger group or organization.