Veterans call for Patriot Front members to be prosecuted

·3 min read

Military veterans are asking prosecutors to crack down on the far-right white supremacist group Patriot Front, arguing a coordinated local, state and federal effort is needed to disincentivize its nationwide member pool from participating in criminal activity.

Task Force Butler, an organization of anti-fascist veterans, on Tuesday released a 238-page report called “Project Blacklisted,” which details Patriot Front activity, identifies members of the group and notes criminal statutes they may be breaking.

The report argues the extremist group isn’t deterred by “current piecemeal, local legal accountability efforts,” urging all levels of government to ramp up legal pushback and punishment toward the group.

“In order to prevent Patriot Front from continuing to commit and inspire further politically-motivated violence and other hate crimes — local, state, and federal government must work together to impose disincentives through both criminal and civil legal action against all known members of Patriot Front who have participated in their various criminal conspiracies, acts of terrorism, and racketeering activity,” the group wrote in its report, which was shared with The Hill.

Patriot Front “primarily functions to plan, train, and manufacture weapons for the explicit purpose of engaging in acts of violence and harassment against minorities, the LGBTQIA+ community, and others deemed ‘enemies’ by Patriot Front’s leader Thomas Ryan Rousseau,” the report continues.

Headquartered in Texas, Patriot Front is an offshoot of the far-right group Vanguard America. After the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., Rousseau split with Vanguard America to found the new group.

Patriot Front members have been noted nationwide in what Task Force Butler called “flash-mob style marches” that use cities across the country “as backdrops to showcase for the media and the nation their ethno-nationalist agenda.” They typically don a dark blue shirt or jacket and a white face covering.

Thirty-one Patriot Front members, reportedly from at least 11 different states, were arrested near an Idaho pride event after authorities found them standing in riot gear in the back of a U-Haul truck in June.

In Boston in July, more than 100 Patriot Front members marched Boston’s Freedom Trail. Members also marched in Washington, D.C. and in Philadelphia last year.

The Patriot Front manifesto, excerpts of which were shared by the Southern Poverty Law Center, pushes white nationalist ideals.

“An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American,” the manifesto reads. “The same rule applies to others who are not of the founding stock of our people.”

The extremists will likely look for more opportunities to act in the wake of Idaho and Boston, Task Force Butler’s report says.

“Every single criminal act that a Patriot Front gang member engages in on behalf of the organization is the result of a conspiracy by, with, and through the organization’s strictly hierarchical leadership structure, and should be treated as such by law enforcement,” the report says.

Task Force Butler is a nonprofit founded by U.S. Army veteran Kristofer Goldsmith.

The Hill was unable to contact Patriot Front for comment on the report.

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