White supremacist group boasts on social media about hanging banner from Boise overpass

Police lights
Posted at 2:42 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 16:42:50-05

This article was originally published by Nicole Blanchard in the Idaho Statesman.

A white supremacist group hung a banner over Interstate 84 in Boise earlier this month as part of a series of guerrilla self-promotions across the country, according to the Boise Police Department and social media claims.

Patriot Front is categorized as an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League. According to posts shared in a Patriot Front group on the social media app Telegram Thursday, group members recently hung a banner in Boise promoting the organization. Photos on Telegram show multiple people with their faces covered by neck gaiters hanging a large banner on what appears to be an interstate overpass.

Boise Police Department spokeswoman Haley Williams told the Statesman in an email that officers removed a banner from the Cloverdale overpass around 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 17.

“It’s believed the banner went up earlier that morning,” Williams said. It contained “Patriot Front wording,” according to Williams.

It’s not the first action that the group has taken in Boise recently. Another message in the Telegram group shows stickers on light poles with what appears to be Broadway Avenue in the background.

ProPublica reported in 2019 that the group formed following the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead. Its founder, Thomas Rousseau, broke off from the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America and published a manifesto that includes “a call for the formation of a white ethnostate,” after the rally.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which indexes hate crimes and hate groups and helped eradicate the Aryan Nations from Idaho 20 years ago, said Patriot Front “focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country.”

The group has been tied to similar banners and other public displays across the country, including one reading “Reclaim America” that was hung from a Utah interstate overpass last fall.

“We work with state and federal partners when it comes to monitoring criminal activity that might be linked to groups,” Williams told the Statesman.