(georji brown via AP)
Members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front have sued a leftist activist in federal court, saying that he infiltrated their group and told people who they were and that they were in the racist group.
The lawsuit says that when the activist “doxxed” the four plaintiffs as Patriot Front members, they lost their jobs, incomes, and relationships with family members.
The case, brought to a federal court in the Western District of Washington by a Spokane law firm, is an unusual new move by Patriot Front members. The Texas-based group has become known for holding marches with dozens of young men wearing masks, carrying American flags, and chanting slogans. Last year, 31 Patriot Front members were arrested when police stopped a U-Haul allegedly taking them to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to disrupt a Pride event. They were charged with getting together to start a riot.
Who exactly is Patriot Front?
Patriot Front says it wants “a hard reset on the nation we see today—a return to the traditions and virtues of our forefathers.”
The Anti-Defamation League calls the group a white supremacist group that “justifies its ideology of hate and intolerance by saying it wants to protect the ethnic and cultural roots of its members’ European ancestors.” Most of what the group does is spread propaganda through flyers, banners, and stickers that its members pass out nationwide.
“They can say they are peaceful all they want, but at their core, they are a white supremacist group that wants to make the white race the best,” said Morgan Moon, an investigator with the ADL’s Center on Extremism.
What does the court case say?
The lawsuit, which was filed at the end of June, is against David Capito, an activist who, they say, joined Patriot Front in 2021 and worked as the group’s photographer for a while. But the lawsuit also has another goal. It says, “At a deeper level, this complaint seeks to defend the rule of law and basic principles of free speech for people who hold unpopular views.”
The lawsuit says that Capito joined Patriot Front under a false name and used the group’s computer databases to get private information, which he then shared with other activists and hackers.
“This private information was then widely shared and used to harass and threaten the Plaintiffs, with the goal and result of doing them and other Patriot Front members and causing them serious harm,” the lawsuit says.
Will the case go to court?
Brian Hughes, associate director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University, said that this is part of a trend on the extreme far-right to make their actions sound like the First Amendment protects them. But he said he and the other Patriot Front members had a hard fight ahead.
Hughes said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” “I don’t think a judge will be eager to set a precedent for a hate group.”
When asked for a comment, the lawyer for the Patriot Front members did not answer. No one could talk to Capito to get her opinion.