DENVER — As federal investigators continue to dig through hours of footage from the U.S. Capitol Attack, more evidence continues to emerge that holds members of extremists groups and ideologies culpable.
Thus far, at least four men with ties to Colorado face federal charges for their involvement in the insurrection.
On Jan. 19 Patrick Montgomery, 48, of Douglas County, and Robert Gieswein, 24, of Woodland Park, both made their initial appearances Tuesday afternoon in front of U.S. District Court of Colorado Magistrate Judge Scott T. Varholak.
Colorado geophysicist, Jeffrey Sabol, was ordered to be held without bail on Jan. 22. Sabol is accused of dragging a police officer down steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A judge said Sabol was a flight risk after after a prosecutor said the man tried to flee to Switzerland and commit suicide after the insurrection.
Two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Klete Keller appeared in U.S. District Court of Colorado on Jan. 14, after being charged a day prior in connection with the siege.
As more arrests continue, white supremacist propaganda has emerged in Cheesman Park in Denver.
Over the weekend some people wrote on the social media site, Nextdoor, they had noticed the messaging, in the form of stickers, and tried to take it down.
The stickers were a recruitment call for the white nationalist group, Patriot Front.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Patriot Front supports racism and antisemitism. The group formed after the deadly Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017.
Two activists, who are part of the community-led group, Indivisible Front Range Resistance, both wanted to remain anonymous out of fear for retaliation.
“It makes me very angry and disturbed, especially as a parent,” one of them said.
“There’s photos of us pulling stickers down, and usually we try to get a photo as we do it, so we can show we’re getting them down,” the other activist said. “You’re not welcome. You’re not welcome in my county. You’re not welcome in my town. Hate does not have a home here,”
One of the activists shared a photo of them removing a sticker at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre earlier this month.
Rachel Nielsen with Colorado Resilience Collaborative at the University of Denver. The Collaborative supports those impacted by targeted violence due to radicalization and discrimination with a focus on on race and ethnicity, nationality, faith and ideology.
“We’re trying to provide intervention for people who, because of their personal grievances, find some relation to these groups [white supremacist, neofascist] because of their personal issues. Those [issues] really do need resolution. We have a lot of political hurt in this nation across the board,” Nielsen said.
She added political rhetoric in the country has contributed to an increase in propaganda and divisive messaging.
“These our conversations we have to have in our homes because its just so pervasive now,” Nielsen said. “Statistically, we even have evidence from the Anti-Defamation League here in Denver that in the last two years, almost 100% of the incidents in Colorado that are bias motivated and hate crimes were perpetuated by alt-right white supremacists groups.”
Nielsen said after events like the U.S. Capitol insurrection, some people will fall away from a political ideology and others will double down on their efforts.
“You’ll have a small minority that will double down and get more serious and become more violent and become more vehement in their rhetoric in some ways,” Nielsen said.
Denver Police said there have been no recent reports involving Patriot Front recruitment stickers but said someone could be charged with criminal mischief if the sticker causes damage to personal property.
“Patriot Front has been around for longer, and the thing that is concerning about this group in particular is that they’re openly fascist and white supremacists and promote violence in the name of their cause,” Nielsen said. “They use American values to rope people into some of these ideas, and then the white supremacy philosophy is sort of rolled out after you’re already involved,”
Nielsen said the Colorado Resilience Collaborative offers support for those who may have concerns about a loved one’s ideologies.
“Our tendency is to push people out and say, ‘that’s disgusting… that’s hateful. I don’t want to be a part of your world anymore,’ and push them out, when really the only hope is for people who see it to close ranks around them and say, ‘what you’re talking about is not safe, and as a your mother, as your brother, as your friend, I am concerned about you.'” Nielsen said.
The Colorado Resilience Collaborative can be reached at (303) 871-3042.