Federal Prosecutors Say Man Who Screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ and Stabbed a NYPD Officer During BLM Protests in June Was Motivated by ISIS
Harriet Alexander, Daily Mail, August 26, 2020
A man who stabbed a New York City police officer in the neck with a knife in June was motivated by the Islamic State militant group’s materials he viewed online, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Dzenan Camovic, 20, a Bosnian immigrant living in Brooklyn, attacked two police officers on June 3, during the chaos during the George Floyd protests.
In the first attack, he allegedly shouted the Islamic refrain ‘Allahu Akbar,’ meaning God is great, as he stabbed the first cop in the neck. Camovic took the injured officer’s gun and used it to shoot a responding NYPD officer.
Both injured officers survived the attack.
Camovic was shot eight times by NYPD officers, who arrived to assist their colleagues.
Camovic was charged with attempted murder on June 6, and on Wednesday additional charges of robbery and weapons offenses were brought against him.
Announcing the charged, Bill Barr, the attorney general, revealed that they had strong suspicion he was radicalized online.
‘We know that he possessed a significant volume of materials that demonstrates his interest in and support for violent Islamist extremism, including materials related to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS),’ said Barr, using an Arabic term for Greater Syria or the Levant.
He said that investigators have met ‘evidentiary roadblocks’ in their attempts to learn more about Camovic’s plans and potential co-conspirators, due to his use of encrypted communications platforms and the dark web.
Prosecutors asked the judge to keep Camovic detained before trial based on his demonstrated ‘interest in and support for violent Islamic extremism,’ according to court filings.
When Camovic’s bedroom was searched, they found CDs and thumb drives containing audio and video files of lectures from Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as ISIS related propaganda, they said.
Al-Awlaki was a U.S.-born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011.
Several terrorists, including the Boston Marathon bombers, have cited or admitted to listening to the noted jihadist’s sermons and speeches.
According to the prosecutor’s filing, Camovic told a medical worker at Kings County Hospital on the night of the attacks that he killed two police officers and ‘my religion made me do it.’
Camovic faces a maximum of life in prison if he is convicted.
Shortly after the attack, a relative described him as a ‘practicing Muslim’ and ‘absolutely not a terrorist’.
‘I’ve known him since he was six inches tall. That this is a terrorism, it’s illogical,’ the relative who declined to share his name said to the New York Post.
‘He was raised here, [English] is his only language…He was as good of a child as a child could be,’ he added.
The relative was interviewed by federal terrorism investigators on Thursday and said that Camovic never expressed any anti-police sentiment to him.
The relative was seen speaking to two FBI agents outside Camovic’s Brooklyn apartment building where he lives with his parents and sister on Thursday afternoon.
‘I have the utmost respect for law enforcement, but it’s easy to accuse a Muslim of terrorism. It’s the first offense that comes to mind when someone mentions Muslim,’ he added.
‘He might have been attacked yesterday, it could have been provoked and he might have mentioned — like anyone would mention God — he might have said Allah, but no one knows. I just hope law enforcement will do their due diligence,’ he said.
While Camovic wasn’t on the radar of anti-terror investigators, he had been in contact with people who were and his family may have a ‘nexus to terrorism’, according to the Post.