Florida man arrested for throwing smoke bomb at Mar-a-Lago in protest at lack of stimulus check

Mr Rawls expressed disdain for the Trump administration

Paul Rawls was arrested for throwing a smoke bomb at Mar-a-Lago acting out of disdain for the Trump administration and because his stimulus check had yet to arrive
Paul Rawls was arrested for throwing a smoke bomb at Mar-a-Lago acting out of disdain for the Trump administration and because his stimulus check had yet to arrive

A Florida man, angry at not having yet received a stimulus check from the government, threw a smog bomb outside Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach residence of former President Donald Trump.

Paul Brantly Rawls faces multiple charges including one count of making, possessing, throwing or discharging any destructive device, one count of criminal mischief, and one count of disorderly conduct.

CBS12 reports that the incident occurred on Sunday afternoon, with the Secret Service and Palm Beach Police responding to a report of a smoking device in the middle of South Ocean Boulevard.

Two vehicles crashed while trying to avoid the smouldering object. There were no injuries from the collision.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office dispatched the bomb squad to look for any other devices.

Police said that the device was a 7.5-inch fused incendiary that produces white smoke, manufactured by Pyro U.

The arrest report notes that surveillance footage shows an individual throw the device from the window of a grey Volkswagon. Police traced the licence plate to Mr Rawls.

When officers contacted him by phone he said: “I know the real reason you want to talk to me.”

When brought in for questioning, he told detectives: “I know why I’m here, it’s because I threw a smoke bomb, it’s all on video.”

The arrest report states that Mr Rawls told investigators that he is a former combat veteran and Airborne Ranger and has struggled since being discharged.

He voiced disdain for the Trump administration and was upset because his coronavirus relief stimulus check had not yet arrived.

The $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan that triggered the latest round of stimulus checks to Americans was not passed by Congress until more than six weeks after Mr Trump had left office. There had been two earlier payments to individuals and families in April and December of 2020.

A search of Mr Rawls’ car turned up nine smoke bombs, four flares, four more five-minute white smoke devices, a 12-foot handheld expandable hook, nylon rope, and a black glove.

The arrest report says he drove to and from Palm Beach and his home in West Palm Beach on eight separate occasions since 1 March.

Mr Rawls is now being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on a $21,000 bond. He appeared in court on Monday and is set to return on 13 April.

CBS12 reports that Mr Trump was at Mar-a-Lago when the incident occurred but a source says that it could not be seen nor heard from inside the club.

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