Leader of white nationalist hate group, 2 others arrested in Texas

©Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The leader of an alt-right, white supremacist group was arrested in Texas on Saturday, charged with criminal mischief and sent to jail on a $500 bond. - Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

FORT WORTH, Texas — The leader of an alt-right, white supremacist group was arrested in Texas on Saturday after police said he and two other men placed stickers on county property.

The Parker County Sheriff’s Department arrested the three men on Saturday after watching them place stickers on two different signs on the Parker County Courthouse lawn in Weatherford, according to the men’s arrest warrants. One of those arrested was Thomas Rousseau, the leader of the group Patriot Front, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Rousseau is identified by SPLC as the founder of the white nationalist organization, which the SPLC classifies as a hate group.

Along with 21-year-old Rousseau, the sheriff’s department arrested Cameron Pruitt, who is 21 and from Utah, and Graham Whitson, who is 29 and from Grapevine. They were charged with criminal mischief and sent to jail on a $500 bond. They were released on Sunday, according to jail records.

According to the arrest warrants, the three men were placing stickers that said “Reject Poison” and included pictures of drugs. According to the Detroit Metro Times, the stickers include a link to the group’s website and have been used by Patriot Front in other locations.

Rousseau told deputies that he was promoting the group featured on the stickers, but was not a part of it, according to the sheriff’s department.

A Twitter account that claims to be run by Rousseau tweeted about the incident on Monday, saying, “Fat pigs at @WPDTX (the Weatherford Police Department) have nothing better to do than harass patriotic Americans, how do you live with your selves?”

In a reply, the person claiming to be Rousseau said, “As for @WPDTX we’re not done with you. We’ll be back.”

Almost two weeks ago, the Parker County Courthouse was the stage of a tense standoff between protesters and counterprotesters. Protesters demanded the removal of a Confederate statue, while counterprotesters showed up to defend the statue and their town. Some counterprotesters said they thought the opposing group planned to vandalize or tear down the statue.

As the 50 to 75 protesters — mostly made up of the Fort Worth group Enough is Enough and Parker County Progressives — came face-to-face with hundreds of people on the courthouse lawn, skirmishes broke out. Two counterprotesters were arrested.

On Thursday, Parker County commissioners voted to keep the statue at the courthouse. Afterward, another protest was held near the statue on Sunday.

One of Patriot Front’s most common tactics is to distribute racist and anti-Semitic propaganda in various communities, the Anti-Defamation League reported. The group operates mostly in Texas, where most of its members live, but its distribution of hate speech has been identified in at least 12 different states.

The group reportedly seeks the creation of an all-white nation in the United States, and is strongly anti-Semitic.

Rousseau was arrested in 2018 in Fort Worth when police said he posted hate speech posters downtown. Rousseau formed Patriot Front after leading a group of people during the Unite the Right rally in Charlotteville,Virginia.

———

©2020 Fort Worth Star-Telegram