COLUMBIA — An employee of Richland County Emergency Services has been arrested in the wake of last weekend's street violence with the Sheriff's Department saying he appears to be a member of the "Boogaloo boys," an alt-right group that wanted to foment violence during demonstrations.
Kevin Ackley, 22, of Lexington was fired from his post as a medic with Emergency Services after he was arrested Friday, according to a statement from the sheriff's department.
Ackley is charged with inciting a riot and and aggravated breach of peace. According to the department, Ackley threw a water bottle at law enforcement officers during protests against police brutality.
“It’s disgusting that a man who is supposed to be protecting the lives of citizens and law enforcement officers alike would participate in a riot that injured people,” Sheriff Leon Lott said.
Ackley is alleged by the Sheriff's Department to be a supporter of the "Boogaloo boys," a right-wing or anarchist group that wanted to infiltrate peaceful protests and spur violence, according to media reports. Their stated goal is to trigger a second U.S. civil war, according to media reports.
The group wore Hawaiian shirts as part of their regalia. The Sheriff's Department said it seized a floral shirt and other items with logos associated with the Boogaloo boys from Ackley's possession.
Joshua Barnard, 24, of Columbia, who was arrested Thursday, also is suspected of being a supporter of the group. He has been charged with multiple charges including breaking into a motor vehicle, looting, larceny, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Earlier Friday, the Sheriff's Department announced the arrest of Joseph Watson, 20, of Columbia. He is facing charges of inciting a riot and aggravated breach of peace. Watson is suspected of being the individual seen in a social media video helping destroy a public fence in the Vista.
Both Ackley and Watson were being held Friday afternoon at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
Local law enforcement has made seven arrests since last weekend's violence near the Columbia Police Department headquarters, some prompted by reviews of pictures and videos from social media. More arrests are likely as evidence is reviewed, according to Lott.