PORT ORCHARD — Trial is Feb. 26 for a member of a white supremacist organization who allegedly verbally assaulted a Filipino woman and a Hispanic security guard at Kitsap Mall, and demanded to see their green cards.
Prosecutors charged Matthew S. Holland, 26, with felony malicious harassment. Holland claimed to be a member of Vanguard Nation. The alleged harassment occurred Sept. 9 and allegedly included a death threat and the use of racial epithets.
Meanwhile, Patriot Front — a Vanguard splinter group — is believed responsible for posting white-supremacist fliers in Bremerton and Gig Harbor in November.
In large black letters, the fliers read “Resurrection Through Insurrection,” featuring a large fascist symbol, and “Conquered Not Stolen,” accompanied by a map of the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on its website. The fliers direct readers to the Patriot Front website. A banner placed on an overpass in Gig Harbor read “America is White,” according to the SPLC.
Patriot Front is a Texas-based group that splintered off from Vanguard last summer after a protester at a Vanguard rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, allegedly drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring at least 19 people.
Patriot Front’s goal: to “[bring] white nationalists together under an activist banner,” SPLC reported.
“So far, the bulk of that activism has revolved around guerrilla plastering of fliers of various public locales at nighttime, as well as setting up freeway banners on overpasses that advertise their website to drivers.”
Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey told the Tacoma News Tribune on Nov. 30 that the fliers and banner did not rise to the level of a hate crime because, the News Tribune reported, the fliers did not contain a threat to any certain race, religion or specific group of people it did not fall under the statute of a malicious harassment.
Patriot Front’s posters feature a variety of slogans, including “We Have a Right to Exist,” “Fascism: The Next Step for America,” “Will Your Speech Be Hate Speech?,” as well as calls for “Patriots” to “reconquer your birthright,” the SPLC reported. Other fliers “urge ‘all white Americans’ to ‘report any and all illegal aliens,’ ” according to SPLC.
Fliers have been reported on college campuses across the United States, according to SPLC:
University of California at Los Angeles
University of Delaware in Newark
University of South Florida in Tampa and St. Petersburg
Towson University in Towson, Maryland
Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey
University of Texas in Austin
University of North Texas in Denton
Texas Christian University in Fort Worth
Collin College in McKinney, Texas
Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas
Olympic College in Bremerton
Fliers have also been reported in public spaces in Seattle; St. Petersburg and Wichita Falls, Texas; and Charleston, South Carolina.
Patriot Front’s manifesto on its website states that American identity belongs to those of the “European diaspora.”
“The American identity was something uniquely forged in the struggle that our ancestors waged to survive in this new continent. America is truly unique in this pan-European identity which forms the roots of our nationhood. To be an American is to realize this identity and take up the national struggle upon one’s shoulders.”
Donna Goodwin of the Bremerton Police Department said her department has had no record of reports of white-supremacist fliers being circulated in Bremerton. If someone sees a flier, “They should probably call 911 to have an officer come out,” she said. “[Anything] that might be considered a hate crime, especially if they knew who was doing it, go through 911 and have the officer contact them.”
Port Orchard Chief of Police Geoffrey Marti reported no sightings in his city. “I know that for a fact. We have not received one complaint of a racial posting of any kind or had anybody call us and say that they’ve been contacted through their mail or anything else. To this point, absolutely none.”
What should people do if they come across a flier, or someone posting a flier?
“If it’s something that rises to the level that they think there’s been a law violation, they should call the police,” Marti said. “Even if they’re not even quite certain. That could involve a lot of things — going on to someone’s property and putting up material, you have trespassing. [If they] contact you personally, disturbs you, [makes you feel threatened] in some fashion, there are possible law violations there.
“There are times when there are detestful things that can be put out in the public and you don’t have a law violation. [We take those on a] case by case basis, but we’re certainly interested in any activity or group that would be seen as extremist in some fashion. As much information as we gather, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a law violation, we can be on the front edge of any repercussions that may cause.”
— With reporting by Michelle Beahm and Richard Walker of Kitsap News Group.