Lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center Arrested on Possible Domestic Terrorism Charges

In a case reminiscent of the two New York lawyers convicted of firebombing a police vehicle, a lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was arrested for possible domestic terrorism in targeting a police training center in Atlanta. Thomas Webb Jurgens was among 23 suspected domestic terrorists in an attack on the site for a planned $90 million training complex called “Cop City” by protesters.

Unlike the cases of Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, it is not clear what the evidence is against Jurgens beyond his being present at the scene. The SPLC insists that he was present “as a legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).”

I have represented such observers with the NLG (as well as journalists) who have been arrested at such protests. It is plausible that he was there for that function. The question is whether he undertook any violent action himself or did more than observe. These cases can often be knocked down to mere trespass or other lesser charges after arraignments or preliminary hearings.

He is one of 23 suspected domestic terrorists released by the Atlanta Police Department on Monday. The court will have to establish if there is particularized evidence against these individuals or whether they were scooped up at the scene en masse. The police report states:

“On March 5, 2023, a group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers. They changed into black clothing and entered the construction area and began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers.”

The SPLC bills itself as a “catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people.” It has a less redeeming history when it comes to free speech rights.

The SPLC has long been criticized for targeting conservative and religious groups. Ironically, given its objections to the charge against Jurgens, it has long been accused of loosely applying the label of “hate group” to organizations with opposing viewpoints. For example, the Family Research Council was labeled a “hate group.”

In 2018, the SPLC paid $3.375 million after branding Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz an “Anti-Muslim Extremist.” The SPLC issued an apology as part of the settlement after including Nawaz in its A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.

The manual shows the close association with journalists who use these designations to marginalize and stigmatize conservative or Christian groups. The SPLC also works to discourage donors from supporting such groups.

In the Nawaz matter, the SPLC noted that, during the litigation, it gained “a deeper understanding of their views and after hearing from others for whom we have great respect, we realize that we were simply wrong to have included Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam in the Field Guide in the first place.”

The D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM) also sued SPLC after it labeled the ministry a “hate group.” The lawsuit was tossed after SPLC successfully argued that the ministry had to satisfy the higher standard for defamation under New York Times v. Sullivan.

While I admire the original vision and early work of founders Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr., there is now ample evidence that the SPLC has targeted groups for their conservative or Christian ideology in my view. Yet, the media continues to cite such designations without noting that history or the fact that the work of the SPLC has been challenged for using hate group designations for political purposes.

As for Jurgens, I would encourage withholding judgment until we see what evidence exists beyond his being present. There are routinely such observers at these protests. The question is whether the police have footage or eyewitness accounts of Jurgens participating in, rather than merely observing, the violent protest.

122 thoughts on “Lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center Arrested on Possible Domestic Terrorism Charges”

  1. The Associated Press termed these violent brick and rock-throwing terrorists “left-leaning.” But the will call any conservative group “far-right” or “white supremacist.”

  2. We have got to do something about the behavior of these Amish kids. It has to stop.

  3. I think the problem with it was muskeegee…Indian ground. The Indian ground losses people off! They ask always get what the jews holocaust ask for….but never get same as to Indian holocaousts. The Indians are sick of it! And it’s always repeated….their grounds are used by the state. Like their ancestors don’t matter. But Jews matter? In North america? Seriously? We bend over for Israeli Jews in America but we won’t bend over for native americans? The musketeers per it to their people. Sold lawyer is the small you need to worry over…behind him are every tribe still existing in america! Who will peaceable ask….that the tuskegee and misjudged muskegee lands not be violated. But the cops don’t get our war cry! Instead they ignore us and our land and develop for foreigners. That will not work! We own this country. Lajes86 545499a. Americans own this country! Your fools errands! Tix tok. The rooster crows…pick your side! You have none except by manipulation….while real people are pure and can’t be manipulated! We are red blooded. Good luck on your war…..we will win!

  4. Apparently, there are so few domestic terrorists in Georgia that, like coffee and bananas, they have to be imported.

  5. 50 shade of Some, Select [Black] Lives Matter clearly has diversitist (e.g. racist) motivation.

  6. In keeping with the hateful and violent rhetoric of the Left, long-time art critic for NYMag @jerrysaltz instructed his Instagram followers with the following


    Because if you know anyone who voted Republican- including friends and family – you should shun them.
    No need to even tell them that you are no longer communicating with them or why. You own it yourself, to them, your country, and any idea of moral damage.

    And yes, they want to bring back lynching.
    The Long American Night.”

  7. ” It is plausible that he was there for that function. ”

    Try him as they did with the Jan 6 protestors. He was at the scene of the crime. He represents a group of Domestic Terrorists.

    ATS used to use the SPLC as a link but even he stopped only to use one link after another until he had to stop using those as well. The left is dishonest and needs to be stopped.

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