A nonprofit veterans group is pressuring prosecutors to bring serious charges against members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front. The veteran group, Task Force Butler, has released a report detailing how Patriot Front members can be prosecuted for a variety of state and federal crimes.
Patriot Front is a far-right white supremacist group formed after the racist Unite the Right rally in 2017. Though largely known for vandalism and marches, its activities have become increasingly aggressive and tend towards violence. In June, 31 members were arrested outside a Pride event and charged with conspiracy to riot. According to authorities, they were armed with shields, helmets, spears and at least one smoke grenade. The cases are still pending.
Task Force Butler’s Report, “Project on the blacklist”, identifies members of the group and points out how to hold them accountable for allegedly violating dozens of state and federal statutes in Idaho, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
It focuses specifically on allegations that multiple Patriot Front members have committed racially motivated attacks against unarmed black men in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts and refers to the Pride event arrests in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It states that members from at least 28 states participated in these “coordinated attacks”.
“Patriot Front meets the legal definition of involvement in terrorism as a street gang and criminal racketeering organization; and their activities constitute conspiracies to commit hate crimes according to both state and federal legal definitions,” Task Force Butler writes in the report’s executive summary.
It alleges that Patriot Front knowingly exploits weaknesses in the law to its advantage, as evidenced by members who joined a march in Boston just weeks after their arrest in Idaho. It says they know local prosecutors are more likely to charge them for minor crimes, encouraging them to potentially commit criminal acts in other jurisdictions as they are unlikely to face any felony or federal charges.
Because the group is hierarchical and organized, Task Force Butler believes that Patriot Front members can be charged with conspiracy charges in addition to the underlying criminal charge for any act.
“Any criminal act committed by a Patriot Front gang member on behalf of the organization is the result of a conspiracy by, with and by the organization’s strictly hierarchical leadership structure, and should be treated as such by law enforcement officers.”
Task Force Butler also says Patriot Front is part of a national network of white racist hate groups.
The report uses the framework of a successful civil suit over the deadly Unite the Right rally as a template. Some of the suspects in the case, Sine v. Kesslerwere found responsible for criminal conspiracy and racial-based harassment or violence for their role in organizing the rally.
Task Force Butler sent its 238-page report to state and federal prosecutors in an effort to help and convince them to bring charges against members of the Patriot Front. So far, no one has made any public statements about the report.
Task Force Butler founder Krisstofer Goldsmith told: NBC News that he believes there is more than enough evidence to convict members of various crimes.
“After years of looking into this, I am more than convinced that the FBI, the Attorney General and these local jurisdictions all have more than enough evidence to take action against this neo-Nazi terrorist gang,” Goldsmith reportedly said.
“We as veterans are tired of seeing fascists running around hurting people and not being brought to justice. So if someone has to do the homework to make sure justice is found, we’re willing to do the homework.”