Video Shows White Supremacists 'Caught In The Act' Of Brooklyn Banner Drop

Jake Offenhartz

January 07, 2020

Originally published in Gothamist on January 07, 2020.

Members of Patriot Front unfurling a banner over the Belt Parkway this weekend

As a series of banners, stickers and recruiting posters linked to the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front have continued to crop up in South Brooklyn in recent days, a new video purports to unmask the typically camera-shy members of the hate group.

The video, obtained by the anti-racist website One People's Project, shows five men unfurling a homemade banner from the 80th Street bridge over the Belt Parkway on Saturday. They're dressed in the standard Patriot Front uniform—beige khakis, sunglasses, white caps and face coverings. The video also shows two individuals without their faces concealed, who allegedly participated in the banner drop before running off. (Gothamist has not confirmed that the unmasked individuals seen at the end of the video participated in the banner drop.)

The footage comes as a growing number of Patriot Front-linked posters have raised fears in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, prompting stern rebukes from local officials and residents.

Now we have the possible faces behind some of the cowardly Neo-Nazi recruitment in Bay Ridge, and I call on the NYPD and 68th Precinct to investigate," State Senator Andrew Gounardes told Gothamist. "They must be found and held accountable for their actions.”

A spokesperson for the NYPD did not respond to Gothamist's inquiries.

Patriot Front was formed in the wake of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville as an offshoot of the neo-fascist organization Vanguard America. James Fields, the man convicted of murdering Heather Heyer and intentionally running down other left-wing protesters, was a member of the latter group, and marched with them prior to his killing spree.

In the years since, Patriot Front has become one of the most active white supremacist groups in the country, spreading propaganda against people of color, immigrants, and Jews while advocating for a white ethnostate.

They've also been known to flood certain areas with promotional materials in the hopes of attracting attention, which is what appears to be happening in Bay Ridge in recent weeks. Social media accounts associated with the group have shared an edited hype video of the poster campaign, which does not show any of the members' faces. (A spokesperson for Twitter did not say whether the video, or the accounts promoting it, violate company policy).

Daryle Lamont Jenkins, the longtime organizer who runs One People's Project, said that while Patriot Front thrives on attention, their actions can't be entirely disregarded. "This can be a dangerous group," he told Gothamist. "We're not talking about a group we should just ignore here."

He added, "The important thing for them has always been anonymity. They don't want to do public rallies. They want to post their flyers and remain under the radar. This is an opportunity to say, 'No you cannot fly under the radar.'"

On Sunday, a coalition of Brooklyn groups gathered to denounce Patriot Front, and to stand with Bay Ridge residents who are threatened by the propaganda campaign.

“These groups are trying to intimidate minorities throughout the country," said Rabyaah Althaibani, a Bay Ridge resident who founded the advocacy group Arab Women’s Voice. "We will not be intimidated, and we will continue to organize. Even more, we will turn out in great numbers to vote.”