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National Public Radio journalist charged in firebombing during BLM protest

A journalist with National Public Radio in Arkansas is among the four individuals charged for firebombing police vehicles during BLM protests in Little Rock.

Renea Baek Goddard, 22, worked for KUAR Public Radio and Arkansas Public Media and contributed to an online LGBTQ magazine. The stations are part of the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio network.

She also was a member of the Black Lives Matter protest on Aug. 25 where demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at Little Rock Police Department vehicles.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas announced that the suspects were arrested following an investigation led by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

“Today’s arrests send a message that violence targeted toward law enforcement will not be tolerated,” stated US Attorney Cody Hiland in a release. “Breaking into a police compound and firebombing a police vehicle with a homemade explosive device is clearly not a peaceful protest. They will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Goddard was previously arrested and charged with obstructing governmental operations after violating curfew to attend a BLM protest on June 2. She is due in court on Jan. 22 for that case, the Post-Millennial reports.

“As more and more white supremacists try to rebrand themselves, journalists have a responsibility to be vigilant,” Goddard wrote in 2019 on the news site Truthout. “There needs to be an end to this farce that neutrality necessitates taking a centrist position.”

Other suspects facing charges include Brittany Dawn Jeffrey, 31; Emily Nowlin, 27; and Aline Espinosa-Villegas, 24; all of Little Rock.

Espinosa-Villegas is described as a “transsexual Chilean national” and reportedly uses “xe” pronouns.

Espinosa-Villegas has been held in the Pulaski County Detention Center without bail in regard to the federal charges.

Nowlin faces charges in connection with the firebombing of the police vehicle’s disorderly conduct during a June 2 protest, according to the Post-Millennial.

Additionally, Jeffrey was accused of allowing activists to use her home for the construction of incendiary devices. She has led a number of BLM-style demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in May.

All four suspects were charged with malicious destruction of property, conspiracy to commit those acts, and possession of a destructive device.

National Public Radio had not issued a statement on the incident or her work as a journalist for the organization.

–Wire services