Two members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were charged last week with vandalising a gay Pride mural in Olympia, capital of Washington state in the United States. 

On July 13, Olympia Municipal Court arraigned Colton M. Brown (23) and Spencer Simpson (20) as accused in the case relating to the vandalisation of the ‘Respect and Love Olympia’ mural on a building in Downtown Olympia on October 16, 2021. The mural was painted over with the words “Patriot Front” and “Reclaim America”. 

The duo were also arrested last month along with 29 other Patriot Front members, while they were enroute to disrupt a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Patriot Front has been classified as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Videos Implicated Patriot Front Members

The court released Simpson on bail and issued a bailable warrant against Brown who failed to appear for the court hearing on Zoom. Simpson’s lawyer said he planned to plead “not guilty” to the charges. 

The Olympia police used information from the community and “open-source social media” to identify the vandals. In January 2022, Unicorn Riot, a group of independent journalists, had released video files and voice meetings that were leaked from the Patriot Front Servers. The videos implicated Brown and Spencer, along with some other members for vandalising the mural. 

The rainbow mural in Downtown Olympia, Washington (left) and after the Patriot Front vandalised it (right). Image: Unicorn Riot

“I appreciate the work of the investigators, and the community members who stepped forward to assist in the investigation,” Olympia Police Chief Rich Allen, said in a statement.

“Acts like these have no place in Olympia. We will always investigate these kinds of incidents, and we will always work to hold those responsible to account in a court of law.” The police said that it was investigating others who were involved in vandalising the mural.

Patriot Front Preys On Teenage Boys

White Supremacists Arrested Near Pride Event In Idaho

Following the attack by the vandals, the local community came forward and repainted the rainbow mural, the City of Olympia said.  “The mural was soon after removed and stored for safekeeping, both to protect it from future attacks and in preparation for the demolition of the building.” 

The Patriot Front was formed by Thomas Rousseau following the 2017 Unite the Right march in Charlottesville.

According to Unicorn Riot, the leak of “private, unedited videos and direct messages reveal a campaign to organize acts of racial hatred while indoctrinating teenagers into national socialism (Nazism). The information stands as a chilling reminder that fascist organizing thrives in secrecy and obscurity.”

The group said that the leak revealed that Patriot Front “preys” on teenage boys. Patriot Front recruited members, many of them legally minors, online and indoctrinated “them with white supremacist ideology and even encouraging them to lie to their parents so the group can transport them across state lines for fascist events.”

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