Monday, July 2, 2018

ATF Agent Rick Hankins Alleged Van L. Mayes Conspired To Firebomb Milwaukee Police 7th District Station After Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown Murdered Unarmed Sylville Smith In 2016

Mayes charged with three federal felonies by ATF and feds in connection with an attempt and conspiracy to firebomb the Milwaukee police station on District 7.

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

July 2, 2018

Milwaukee, WI - On Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Milwaukee announced that Van L. Mayes, 31, also known as Vaun L. Mayes, an activist in the African-American community had been taken into custody and charged with three federal felonies that included, attempted arsons, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence. Matthew D. Krueger, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin says that the complaint alleged that Mayes and others planned to firebomb the Milwaukee Police Department's District Seven Police Station during the Sherman Park rioting in August 2016.  According to the complaint, Mayes and others pursued the plan by manufacturing Molotov cocktails in glass bottles labeled Mike's Hard Lemonade, Everfresh Juice, Mistic Juice, and Seagram's Escape Wine Coolers that contained gasoline with a fabric wick inserted into the opening. The firebombing of the District Station ultimately did not occur. More arrests expected in the Mayes case, according to the ATF's ongoing investigation.
Special Agent Rick Hankins with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in a federal affidavit to establish probable cause for an arrest warrant and criminal complaint filed on June 27, 2018 states, that at least four informants (witnesses) connected Mayes to a cardboard box full of Molotov cocktails (a glass container or bottle that holds flammable liquid, often gasoline with an inserted wick to start fires) found on August 23, 2016 inside a dumpster on N. Sherman Blvd. near the Sherman Park riots in 2016. The riots ignited after Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown shot and murdered unarmed Sylville Smith after a traffic stop, when Smith who had a conceal carry permit ran and tossed a handgun over a fence when then Officer Heaggan-Brown shot him and as Smith fell from the impact of the first shot and was unarmed, Heaggan-Brown fatally shot him again and killed Smith. Smith did have a weapon on him when he was shot a second time. Heaggan-Brown was later found not guilty for Smith's homicide. Officer Heaggan-Brown was later fired from the Milwaukee Police Department and charged and convicted of a second criminal incident for raping a man and forcing him to engage in sex acts. 
On August 13 and 14, 2016, Milwaukee experienced widespread arson, rioting, and looting in the area surrounding Sherman Park near where Heaggan-Brown killed Smith at N. 44th St. and W. Auer Ave.
ATF Special Agent Hankins claims, that Mayes committed crimes dating August 15, 2016 that resulted in federal charges. Hankins alleged that Mayes targeted the Milwaukee Police 7th District Station located at 3626 W. Fond du Lac Ave. and conspired with others to firebomb the station, but Mayes and others never actually went through with it after too many people knew of the intent.
On August 29, 2016, ATF agents executed a search warrant at Mayes residence and agents found Seagram's Escape Wine Cooler and Everfresh Juice bottles, which the bottles were the same brand labeled bottles found in a box full of Molotov cocktails on August 23, 2016. Another search warrant executed at an apartment near where the box of cocktails were found in a dumpster, ATF agents found a ripped dark color fabric similar to the type of wick used in the Molotov cocktails and also recovered bottles similar to the cocktails including empty gas cans.
On September 20, 2016, ATF agents informed Mayes that bottles that came from his residence may have been used to manufacture Molotov cocktails, Mayes told agents at the time that the bottles came from his residence so, his DNA would be on them. Mayes confirmed that he drank from Everfresh Juice and Seagram's Escape bottles, according to the federal criminal complaint.
Agent Hankins in the complaint stated that informants/witnesses claimed Mayes and others were involved, according to witness number 1, on August 15, Mayes, C.E., C.M., B.H. and others met by the burned down BP Gas Station in Sherman Park and discussed firebombing the police station at the 3600 block of W. Fond du Lac Ave. and Mayes had brought gas cans and glass bottles to an apartment where they met. Mayes, C.M., and M.W. began to manufacture the Molotov cocktails. A black coat was ripped to use as wicks for the cocktails, according to witness number 1.
On February 2017, a second witness told ATF agents that he was there when Mayes and others manufactured the Molotov cocktails in August 2016. A third witness also told ATF agents that he discussed the Sherman Park riot fires and that he was told by B.H. that police had found a box full of Molotov cocktails and gas cans in a dumpster.
In November 2016, a fourth witness told ATF agents, that after the shooting of Sylville Smith on August 13, that he heard Mayes say, that Sylville Smith needs justice and Mayes including about twenty other adults and teenagers had met at an apartment to plan the firebombing assault on the police station. Mayes at the apartment was sitting next to a black fabric bag filled with rocks to be used to throw at police to create a diversion while others would throw Molotov cocktails at the police station. Mayes was wearing gloves and filling the bottles with gasoline, dipping ripped shirts into a bowl of gasoline, and placing the soaked fabric into the tops of the bottles. The witness also said that he and others drove by the targeted police station and saw police on top of the roof and they went back to tell the group that there was a large police presence and they decided to cancel the attack that night.
ATF agents got a warrant and recovered cellphone videos where Mayes was heard saying, "Where the rocks at?, Who got the rocks? and Fuck you all! Punk ass cops. Getting they ass rocked!" In a second video, Mayes was wearing a mask and was heard saying, "They killing their ass with these motherfucking rocks. Rocking their shit. Shit going down."
In a Facebook video, ATF agents found a video where Mayes was walking by the police station saying, the "worst police departments, District Seven."
ATF agent Hankins, says that a Molotov cocktail is a destructive device and a firearm, which Mayes is prohibited from possessing firearms because he has a state felony conviction for driving/operating a vehicle without consent.

Editors note: The questions being raised in Milwaukee after Mayes arrest are; was he set-up by local law enforcement and feds to take the fall for the rioting at Sherman Park in 2016, and why would Mayes use bottles from juices and wine coolers that he drank from that would easily be traced back to him, and why was a box full of Molotov cocktails left inside a dumpster ten days after the riots began in hot weather that would possibly ignite in the heat and how did law enforcement locate the box in the dumpster? Sounds like a set-up and conspiracy by the ATF and local law enforcement to charge an outspoken community activist for a crime. Empty bottles discarded by Mayes could be easily recovered from his residence recycling trash can and trash with his DNA on them.
Unless, Mayes can admit and confess that he planned and made Molotov cocktails to burn the police station, he might have been a victim of a set-up by the feds.
Informants involved are known to fabricate stories in cases so, they don't get charged with conspiracy to commit a crime.

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