Nearly six months after the firebombing of a pro-life pregnancy center in upstate New York, the FBI has released surveillance camera footage of the attack and offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
The FBI's Buffalo Press Office announced Monday that it is "seeking the public's help to identify the individuals responsible for the arson of the CompassCare Pregnancy Services Center at 1230 Eggert Road, Amherst, New York, on June 7, 2022."
CompassCare, a network of pro-life pregnancy centers whose office in Amherst, New York, was firebombed on June 7, stated Monday that the FBI notified its CEO Jim Harden about the release of surveillance camera video footage and the establishment of a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Jane's Revenge, a group of pro-abortion activists that have taken credit for multiple acts of vandalism against pro-life organizations nationwide, appeared to claim credit for the attack in a June 14 communique by listing "Buffalo, NY," a major city near Amherst, as one of the locations where "you have seen us."
The individuals behind the group and the attack itself remain unknown.
"At approximately 2:45 a.m., the Amherst Police Department received a 911 call regarding a fire at the CompassCare Center," the FBI statement reads.
"Individual(s) had thrown Molotov cocktails at the Center. This started a fire that caused significant damage. One of the individuals spray-painted the words 'Jane was here' on the building, as well. The FBI believes the individuals drove a 2013-2016 red or orange Dodge Dart sedan. Suspect 1 in the FBI's Seeking Information poster is estimated to be approximately 5'11.'"
The 18 seconds of surveillance footage and still photographs from the video are in black and white.
The video begins with a man identified as Suspect 1 — wearing a short-sleeved shirt, pants, a baseball cap and a face mask — taking items out of the trunk of a car. It cuts to a man with an almost fully covered face, wearing a hooded, light-colored sweatshirt, running away from flames as he smashes the windows of the building.
The footage concludes with Suspect 2 — wearing a hooded, dark-colored sweatshirt whose face is fully covered — throwing what appears to be a Molotov cocktail at the building before jumping into the backseat of the car.
The law enforcement agency identified the actions that unfolded at CompassCare earlier this year as a violation of federal law prohibiting destruction by means of a fire or explosive, which comes with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The FBI cited the arson of CompassCare as a potential violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Harden released a statement Monday suggesting that the FBI's announcement merely constitutes an attempt at damage control ahead of an anticipated Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Let's not be too hasty to sing praises to the FBI," he said.
"This may be nothing more than an attempt to appear evenhanded, bolstering their reputation ahead of more investigations by the House Judiciary Committee into the FBI's abdication of duty to investigate violence against pro-life organizations. If they are serious about finding the perpetrators, they will offer a $25K reward for each of the 150 pro-life organizations that have been attacked — $3.75 million dollars."
Multiple pro-life organizations and churches nationwide have suffered varying degrees of vandalism following the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court's draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, determining that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a right to abortion.
Republicans on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee released a report on Nov. 3, which featured whistleblower testimony contending that the FBI deprioritized the investigation of violence against pro-life groups.
More than a week after the 2022 midterm elections that will determine which party controls the U.S. Congress for the next two years, Republicans appear almost certain to hold a narrow majority in the U.S. House. Decision Desk HQ has already called the House for Republicans, determining that the party will hold at least 219 of 435 seats.
But the Associated Press has yet to project Republican control of the Hosue, showing 217 seats for the GOP and 209 for Democrats as of Wednesday morning, with many races uncalled as 218 seats are needed to take control of the lower chamber.
Republican control of the U.S. House would enable the party to investigate the FBI and the Biden administration's handling of violence against pro-life organizations, which critics have characterized as lackluster. Meanwhile, the Biden Justice Department has also used the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act to arrest and prosecute pro-life demonstrators.
In early August, less than two months after the attack that inflicted severe damage on the facility, CompassCare's Amherst location reopened and unveiled plans to expand. In a previous interview with The Christian Post, Harden reported that "we had to replace all the windows, all the doors, the entire ceiling, all the flooring, [and] many walls had to be redone." The damage was so extensive that the building had to be gutted.
In September, CompassCare sued for police to turn over the surveillance video of the attack after several requests to review the footage.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com