It’s horrifying yet unsurprising — far-right extremists, including white supremacists, are trying to exploit this moment in order to sow fear, hate, and violence and distract from the core issue at hand: racial justice.

It’s important to be clear: those trying to take advantage of what’s happening do not, for one second, take away from the protests’ legitimacy. Rather, they only underscore the importance and success of these protests in shining a spotlight on white supremacy and racism in America.

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many others are the tragic and unsurprising results of a racist and broken system — the same system that fueled Charlottesville, Charleston and the litany of other white supremacist attacks, including some of the very extremism we detail below.

Here’s a summary of what we’ve seen:

--Identity Evropa — a white supremacist group that is a defendant in our Charlottesville suit — posed as “antifa” in a viral tweet that urged violence and looting in white neighborhoods. [1] The tweet made the rounds on sites like Facebook and NextDoor, and people were encouraged to “defend” themselves against the supposed antifa threat. Twitter ultimately suspended the account.

The leader of white supremacist group American Identity Movement (Identity Evropa’s rebranded name) stated online that he’s attended numerous protests and said it was time for officers firing rubber bullets and tear gas to “aim for the face.” [2] 

As our suit details, Identity Evropa was a key organizer of the Charlottesville violence, specifically leading the efforts to organize white supremacists from around the country for the weekend of planned violence.

Similarly, Facebook says that they suspended accounts associated with white nationalist groups, which advocated bringing weapons to the protests and spread disinformation related to “antifa.”[3]

In D.C., members of the white nationalist group VDARE posed as "VICE Canada" reporters to broadcast names of antiracist protesters. [4]

Disinformation campaigns and deceptive tactics like these are a hallmark of the white nationalist movement. Much like we saw in the lead up to the 2016 election and in so many other moments since, disinformation is used to tear communities apart – and these extremists believe there’s no better way to do that than capitalizing on racial fears and tensions.

--An admitted Ku Klux Klan leader drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Richmond, Virginia. [5] Nearly three years ago, one of his fellow white supremacists did the same thing, not that far away, in Charlottesville.

This latest attack only affirms that efforts to deflect and distract about who’s responsible for recent violence are cynical and dangerous.

As we told NPR, the use of car attacks against peaceful protesters is increasingly a deliberate terror tactic for white supremacists. [6] When they did the same in Charlottesville in 2017, they planned the violence for months in advance online, as our suit details.

--Armed extremists are showing up to protests in hopes of a “boogaloo” — their code for a second civil war. [7]

Some claim that they’re there to “protect” the protesters. But we should be very clear about who these people are: boogaloo extremists are a loose coalition of far-right militia extremists who urge a second civil war, revolution, or other violent anti-government resistance.  They believe these protests can be used as a catalyst for the violent upheaval they’ve long wanted. 

An alleged “Boogaloo” extremist killed a Santa Cruz deputy and injured another during a fatal ambush. He was then also charged with killing a federal security officer and critically wounding another in Oakland. Charges detail how he traveled to Oakland with an alleged accomplice and planned to exploit the Black Lives Matter protests to kill cops and spark a second civil war: “Use their anger to fuel our fire. We have mobs of angry people to use to our advantage,” he wrote. [8]

Three "boogaloo" extremists were arrested for trying to incite violence at Black Lives Matter protests in Las Vegas. On June 17th, they were indicted by a grand jury for conspiracy to cause violence. [9]

Among other examples, Denver Police also seized automatic weapons and tactical gear from two of these extremists at a protest on Friday. [10]

--Some extremists are trying to spur violence at the protests, including against Black protesters to spark a “race war.” [11]

The Department of Homeland Security warned law enforcement that white supremacists – including some boogaloo extremists – are encouraging supporters to shoot protesters. One message encouraged shooters to “frame the crowd around you” for the violence. [12]

Some white supremacist accelerationists - who seek to speed the collapse of society through violence - suggested murdering protesters and spreading rumors that law enforcement snipers are responsible, per the Anti-Defamation League. [13]

An armed white man with apparent ties to neo-confederate hate groups was arrested for firing shots at a protest in North Carolina; he’s a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has deep ties to our Charlottesville defendant League of the South. [14] And a Philly journalist was allegedly attacked by a group of racist bat-wielding vigilantes. [15]

Meanwhile, a man from Illinois allegedly brought bombs to a Minneapolis protest with the goal of starting a riot. He was seen handing out explosives and encouraging protesters to throw them at police. [16]

In Queens, a racist white man with knives strapped to his arms tried to stab and mow down Black Lives Matter protesters. [17]

In Albuquerque, a man was allegedly shot by a right-wing militia group during a statue protest. [18]

White supremacist street gangs are showing up at BLM protests and telling their followers to report any “anti-white activity.” These groups are similar to Rise Above Movement, which attacked protesters in Charlottesville. [19]

A Missouri man, who friends reportedly worried would attack Black Lives Matter protesters, is facing state weapons charges after law enforcement officials say they discovered grenades, mines and pipe bombs in his possession. [20]

The ADL's Center on Extremism has a helpful rundown of right-wing extremists' presence at protests.

Political Research Associates has been mapping far-right threats to racial justice protests nationwide.

--At the same time, neo-Nazi accelerationists are urging terror attacks on synagogues and infrastructure during the protests. [21]

They note that police, firefighters, and paramedics are spread thin, therefore providing an opportune moment for their attacks.

This is horrifying — and it only affirms the importance of the protests and the fight against white supremacy and extremism. At IFA, our Charlottesville case provides one specific way to tackle the systems of white supremacy, taking on the leaders and hate groups at the center of this violent movement. The case is moving full speed ahead toward trial this fall, with our team winning some critical court decisions over the last few weeks.

  1. White nationalist group posing as antifa called for violence on Twitter - NBC News;
    White Supremacist Group Identity Evropa Posed as Antifa on Twitter and Called For Looting and Violence - VICE News
  2. Far Right Exploits Racial Justice Protests to Further an Agenda of Hate - SPLC
  3. Facebook takes down white nationalist and fake antifa accounts -Reuters
  4. White Nationalist Group Posed as VICE Reporters While Identifying D.C. Protesters -SPLC
  5. Henrico prosecutor: Hanover man who drove into protest is admitted KKK leader -
  6. Vehicle Attacks Rise as Extremists Target Protesters - NPR
  7. Far-Right Extremists Are Hoping to Turn the George Floyd Protests Into a New Civil War - VICE News
  8. Alleged 'Boogaloo' extremist charged in killing of federal officer during George Floyd protest - NBC News
  9. Suspected boogaloo members indicted on terrorism charges in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Review-Journal
  10. Denver Police Seized Assault Rifles from Anti-Government Gun Activists at Friday Night Protest - Colorado Times Recorder
  11. Far-Right Extremists Are Hoping to Turn the George Floyd Protests Into a New Civil War - VICE News
  12. 'Domestic terrorist actors’ could exploit Floyd protests, DHS memo warns - Politico
  13. Extremists Weigh in on Nationwide Protests - ADL 
  14. North Carolina Protest Shooting Suspect Appears To Have Ties to Organized Neo-Confederacy, Hate Groups - SPLC
  15. Philly mayor, police commissioner condemn armed vigilante group in Fishtown - Philly Voice
  16. A White Man From Illinois Allegedly Brought Bombs to Start a Riot at the Minneapolis George Floyd Protest - VICE News
  17. Racist Tries to Kill Black Lives Matter Protestors With His Car - StreetsBlogNYC
  18. Albuquerque Man Allegedly Shot by 'New Mexico Civil Guard' Right-Wing Militia Group During Statue Protest - Newsweek
  19. White Supremacist Street Gangs are Going to BLM Protests- VICE News
  20. Man Faces Bomb Charges After Friends Worried He'd Attack Black Lives Matter Protesters - HuffPost
  21. Neo-Nazi Accelerationists Calling For Terror Attacks During Protests - VICE News

10,000 Voices for Charlottesville

Our lawsuit against the Nazis and white supremacists who attacked Charlottesville is headed to trial — and our plaintiffs need to know we have their backs.