Travis County Democratic Party sues man accused of vandalizing headquarters, setting it on fire

On Friday, AFD identified the attempted arson suspect as Ryan Faircloth, 30. (AFD Photo)

On Friday, AFD identified the attempted arson suspect as Ryan Faircloth, 30. (AFD Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Travis County Democratic Party filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a man who faces charges in connection with setting the party’s headquarters on fire in September.

The party, along with its chair Katie Naranjo, executive director Cynthia Van Maanen and special projects manager Brian Stoller are all listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit that asks for at least $1 million in actual damages and at least $5 million in exemplary damages.

Ryan Taylor Faircloth, 30, is listed as the defendant. He was arrested after an investigation by Austin Fire Department arson investigators and the FBI, and faces charges of possession or manufacture of a prohibited weapon, a third-degree felony and arson, a second-degree felony

The lawsuit also requests an injunction that won’t allow Faircloth within 2,000 feet of the party’s headquarters or other offices.

Surveillance footage showed a man, later identified as Faircloth with the help of an informant, throwing a rock through a door window of the headquarters, then placing a Molotov cocktail in the building in an effort to start a fire. The lawsuit says Faircloth threw an “ignited smoke grenade” through the hole created by the rock. It ignited the Molotov cocktail and “destroyed Party documents and property.”

The plaintiffs called what Faircloth did “malicious acts of domestic terrorism.”

The lawsuit says Faircloth also left behind a note and called it “an explicit threat against the Travis County Democratic Party and its staff.”

It read:

“You can have the Golden State …
the financials of New York …
the mountains of Colorado …
even the sweet peaches of Georgia …
You can have the Great Plains
To the windy city of Chicago …
But one thing you can’t have is TEXAS
Consider this a “light” warning.
– the people.

The lawsuit referenced an affidavit from AFD and explained how the informant helped investigators. The informant gave investigators text messages sent by Faircloth, and the informant recognized Faircloth after media coverage of what happened.

Faircloth, a San Antonio resident, bonded out of Travis County Jail, according to jail records. KXAN contacted Faircloth’s attorney listed on court documents for a comment, and we’ll update this story once we hear back.

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