FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — Police say they are investigating a controversial group that was housed in a home where a teen killed himself.
It’s also where someone called 911 and said an organization had kidnapped them.
The leader of the Black Hammer Party, Augustus Romain, 36, was arrested and charged with kidnapping, among other charges.
Channel 2′s Tom Jones spoke to a local extremism researcher who has studied the group. W.F. Thomas says the teen who killed himself fell into the web of Romain.
“This person is a victim who was preyed upon by Augustus Romain,” Thomas said.
Thomas said Romain claims to help people of color.
“In reality, this functions like a cult,” he said.
Fayetteville police confirmed Romain and his followers are members of the Black Hammer Party. Officers won’t say right now if it is a cult. They say they are still investigating.
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Police arrived at a home on Selwyn Court Tuesday after someone called 911 saying an organization had kidnapped them. Police took nine people out of the house, including Romain.
Ammons remained inside, and police say he killed himself.
Officers arrested Romain and Xavier Rushin, 21, at the home. They face numerous charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault and criminal street gang activity.
Romain also faces two counts of aggravated sodomy.
“This is just going to build me up at the end of the day,” Romain said in a livestream at the scene Tuesday, according to a post on Twitter by someone with the handle Digital Proletariat.
Romain said he runs an amazing revolutionary party, and he claimed Tuesday’s incident would bring him more media and more followers. Thomas says that’s Romain’s goal: “to have attention” and “to gain this notoriety.”
Thomas said Romain seeks power and control over his followers.
Romain said in online videos he is all about building a world where no one has to live at the expense of another.
People who live in the quiet Woodbyne community said they shouldn’t have been living here.
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