A Californian animal rights protestor who allegedly freed 2,000 mink from an Illinois fur farm is a “danger to the community” who should be kept locked up, federal prosecutors say.
Kevin Johnson, 27 and his codefendant, Tyler Lang, 25, allegedly released the animals from a mink farm in Morris, 65 miles southwest of Chicago, last August, then daubed the walls of a barn with the words “Liberation is Love.”
Around 400 of the animals were either killed by traffic or were not recovered, the feds say.
But the pair are also suspected of traveling across the U.S. — including stops in Iowa and Wisconsin — to free caged animals, including those on mink farms and a fox farm in Roanoke, Ill.
Court papers filed Wednesday morning say the attack in Morris “devastated the farmers, resulting in a loss of $125,000,” and provides new details about Johnson’s criminal past.
The U.S. Attorney’s office hopes to convince U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur that Johnson should immediately be taken into federal custody next month when he completes a state sentence for possessing burglary tools.
Johnson — who also goes by the name “Kevin Oliff” — has a history of “troubling” animal rights activism that goes back as far as 2006 and has been escalating, they say.
In August 2006, he was filmed in Santa Monica threatening the family of a juice business executive he accused of using animal testing, screaming outside their home, “We have pictures of you, we’ve got your address, we’ve got your car license plate and we can do whatever the f— we want,” the filing alleges.
A search of his home later recovered paint bombs, a balaclava and Animal Liberation Front literature which encouraged stalking executives at their homes.
“Animal-abusers will consider another line of work when they can’t sleep without fear of reprisals from activists,” one article stated.
Convicted of burglary in 2008, he pleaded guilty in 2010 to stalking for another ALF action outside the home of a UCLA researcher. And in 2012, he pleaded guilty to burglary again.
At the time of that arrest, the feds say, articles detailing how to make improvised bombs and zip guns were found in his possession, as was a list of employees of a science research company and their children.
And when he was arrested in 2013 after the attack on the Morris mink farm, police found five bottles of acid, two bottles of bleach and a container of hydrogen peroxide in his car — the ingredients for a fire bomb, prosecutors say.
Books entitled “Thinking Like a Terrorist,” “Unconventional Warfare Devices and Techniques: Incendiaries” and “Shadowing and Surveillance” were also found, the feds allege.
Johnson’s attorney, Michael Deutsch, on Wednesday disputed that Johnson is a danger and said he plans to fight the attempt to have Johnson held in custody at a hearing on Oct. 15. He also said he plans to challenge the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a relatively new law under which Johnson and Lang were charged.
Shadur chuckled Wednesday when told the name of the law. “Really?” he said, saying the law’s name showed “imagination.”
Lang has been free on bond since both men were indicted in July.
Both he and Johnson are veteran animal rights protestors and are soliciting financial support, according to a website called supportkevinandtyler.com. The website says both men have been vegans for years and hope to “continue fighting for animals.”