Officials in New York and Minnesota both expressed concern that there are indications that riots appear to be coordinated and organized.
Terrorism task force officials in New York told an NBC affiliate that there were "strong indicators" that rioters "planned for violence in advance using at times encrypted communications."
Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said the New York Police Department is confident that the unnamed groups had scouts, medics, and supply routes stocked with rocks, bottles, and accelerants. He also said they appeared to be organized in targeting stores in wealthy areas.
"Before the protests began, organizers of certain anarchists groups set out to raise bail money and people who would be responsible to be raising bail money, they set out to recruit medics and medical teams with gear to deploy in anticipation of violent interactions with police," Miller said. "They prepared to commit property damage and directed people who were following them that this should be done selectively and only in wealthier areas or at high-end stores run by corporate entities."
Minnesota officials said they had intercepted vehicles carrying flammables, looted goods, and weapons, according to local reports. Officials also reported that law enforcement had found "caches" of materials for rioters to use.
"Earlier Sunday, state officials said several caches of flammable materials were found both in neighborhoods where there have already been fires and in cars we've stopped as recently as this morning,'" according to a public safety commissioner. "Some of the caches look like they may have been planted days ago and some only in the last 24 hours or so, he said."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told media on Sunday that she believes there is "strong evidence" of an organized effort to use protests as a cover for rioting. The city is reportedly in contact with at least three federal agencies.
"There is no doubt. This was an organized effort last night," Lightfoot said in a weekend press conference. "There were clearly efforts to subvert the peaceful process and make it into something violent ... There's no question that both the people who were fighting and brought the weapons, that was absolutely organized and choreographed. It seems also clear that the fires that were set, both of the vehicles and buildings, that that was organized and that was opportunistic, as well as the looting."
➡️ Go Further: Follow Disrn's full coverage of the protests and riots here.