|Born||November 2, 1976|
|Known for||Social and political activism, FBI informant|
He is a co-founder of Common Ground Relief, a non-profit relief organization that provided supplies and assistance to New Orleanians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was Director of Operations for the organization from January to April 2007. Darby's role as a community organizer and, at times, a humanitarian relief activist, has been the subject of numerous print, radio and television reports, as well as having been profiled in several documentary films, some which have been critical of his actions.
2008 Republican Convention activities
In 2008, Darby infiltrated a small group of protestors at the 2008 Republican National Convention, while working as an FBI informant and subsequently took the stand against them in court. Two of the protestors, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, were serving jail sentences as of late 2011.
Darby infiltrated groups that organized protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, giving the FBI information which led to the seizure of 34 homemade riot shields brought from Texas. Two activists from Texas, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, then purchased materials for and constructed firebombs (Molotov cocktails) that they appear to have contemplated using on state owned vehicles. Evidence of the firebombs was seized in a raid by local police which was in turn supported by the FBI, and so the key issue of further criminality by McKay and Crowder was whether Darby encouraged this escalation in violence. Specific claims by others in attendance at the protest (e.g., Gabby Hicks) state that Darby was "...the one to suggest violence, when the rest of us clearly disagreed..." and that "[a]s an older seasoned activist, Darby had a lot of sway over Crowder and McKay, making them susceptible to his often militant rhetoric" i.e. that he acted as an agent provocateur. As well, a former Darby girlfriend and various former colleagues allege that Darby informed for the FBI not due to patriotism or altruism, but for self-serving motives.
Neither Crowder nor McKay would agree to testify against the other; Crowder ultimately accepted a plea agreement without trial resulting in 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release. McKay took his case to trial, claiming entrapment by Darby. The trial ended with a hung jury, in a vote of 6-6. Jury interviews indicated that considerable jury discussion centered around the veracity of witnesses McKay and Darby (the former claiming entrapment, the latter denying), with the significant proportion voting to acquit arising because of how Darby's representation of events was perceived.
Shortly before the retrial date, defendant McKay accepted a 24 month plea arrangement for the charges against him, and in doing so formally retracted his claim that Darby entrapped him. However, further documentary evidence has been cited by critics who suggests that both McKay and Crowder remained firm in their initial account of events, but that McKay's decision to take the plea deal was motivated by the awareness that 90% of federal cases result in convictions, and that a conviction could result in a decades-long sentence.
Following the plea arrangement, McKay was sentenced to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release, with a reason given for the longer-than-agreed sentence being the obstruction of justice assigned to McKay's initial claim that Darby had entrapped him.
Darby has indicated his decisions in his service as an informant against Crowder and McKay have led him to have some sleepless nights. In some left-wing activist communities, Darby has been criticized and even ostracized for his role in McKay's conviction. He has been welcomed by some conservative organizations as a patriot.
Darby also appeared in Occupy Unmasked, a documentary film that contends that the Occupy Wall Street movement is sinister, violent, and organized with the purpose of destroying the American government.
- "Brandon Darby: FBI Ignoring Sex Trafficking of Minors". Breitbart News. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "New Orleans: Update From Common Ground Relief". A-Infos Radio Project. September 3, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- Buncombe, Andrew (March 9, 2007). "Desolation row: The betrayal of New Orleans". The Independent. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- "Better This World". POV. PBS. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- Hanners, David (January 1, 2009). "Social activist, organizer ... and RNC informant". Pioneer Press, Twin Cities.com.
- Moynihan, Colin (January 4, 2009). "Activist Unmasks Himself as Federal Informant in G.O.P. Convention Case". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sept. 8, 2008. Affidavit by Special Agent Christopher Langert
- "Austin RNC Informant is Provocateur Not Hero". Houston Independent Media Center. January 6, 2009. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- Austin, Texas Man Sentenced for Possessing Molotov Cocktails During the Republican National Convention, Department of Justice Press Release, US Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota, May 14, 2009
- Walsh, James (May 21, 2009). "Second Texan gets four years in RNC plot". Star Tribune. ""I embellished — I guess actually lied — that Brandon Darby came up with the idea to make Molotov cocktails." — David Guy McKay"
- Flener, Matt (January 8, 2009). "RNC suspect pleads guilty". KXAN News.
- Walsh, James (May 21, 2009). "Second Texan gets four years in RNC plot". Star Tribune.
- Texas Man Sentenced on Firearms Charges Connected to the Republican National Convention, Department of Justice Press Release, US Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota, May 21, 2009.
- "An Open Letter to Brandon Darby". Death and Taxes. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
- Harkinson, Josh (September/October 2011). "How a Radical Leftist Became the FBI's BFF". Mother Jones. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- "What informs an informant?". Waging Nonviolence. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
- TEA PARTY FIGHTS BACK: #OCCUPYORLANDO FORCIBLY REMOVED FROM SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO EVENT, Breitbart TV
- "Solidarity Not Charity", Common Ground Relief
- "The Informant: Revolutionary to rat: The uneasy journey of Brandon Darby", Austin Chronicle, January 22, 2009
- "Better This World", a documentary from PBS's long-running series P.O.V.
- "Turncoat," This American Life, Chicago Public Radio, May 22, 2009
- "Informant", a 2012 documentary film directed by Jamie Meltzer