New Arrests With S. Florida Links In Chicago Terror Plot
MIAMI (CBSMiami ) – Two more suspects are in jail in connection with the alleged terror plot in Chicago during the NATO summit.
Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, and Mark Neiweem, 22, are the latest suspects. They join three other men charged Saturday.
Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, and Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, NH allegedly planned to use Molotov cocktails to attack President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and several police stations.
But those who know the men say they were peaceful protesters, not violent terrorists.
“It’s very upsetting to know somebody you love is being charged with a heinous crime like this and they’re so innocent,” a family friend of Brent Betterly told CBS 4 News.
Betterly, along with Church and Chase were were active in the local Occupy Movement. Betterly often posted on the Occupy Fort Lauderdale Facebook Page. Chase was arrested at an Occupy Miami rally earlier this year.
Now they’re accused of plotting to commit a string of terrorist attacks.
“These individuals charged today are self proclaimed anarchaists who traveled together from Florida to the Chicago area,” said Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez. “Their intent was to commit terrorist acts of violence during the nato conference.”
Betterly, Chase and Church are accused of making Molotov cocktails to use at various spots in Chicago, including President Obama’s campaign headquarters. The three men say they were making beer.
“To find out he is accused in any type of violence and what he’s alleged to have done is just mind-blowing to me,” said defense attorney Andrew Coffey.
Coffey is representing Betterly in an unrelated trespassing and vandalism case stemming from a school break-in in Oakland Park last October.
“I have to say this case down here now pales in comparison to the allegation that he’s facing in Chicago,” Coffey said. “These are very serious allegations and it really is very different from the person I know down here.”
Occupy protesters who rallied alongside Betterly say he was not violent.
“He’s anything but a terrorist,” Jeff Weinberger said. “He’s a guy who was willing to come to the rescue to commit civil disobedience.”
Now Betterly’s loved ones say he is the one who needs rescuing.
“As much as I would love to go up there and help him, I can’t,” said the family friend who didn’t want to reveal her name. “My hands are tied. There’s nothing i can do for him.”
Betterly’s South Florida attorney says his case here was close to be resolved. He had been in court two days before he left for Chicago.
Betterly, Church and Chase are each being held on $1.5 million bond.
They’re next court date is set for Tuesday.