A group of Dallas-Fort Worth-based white supremacists marched through Philadelphia over the weekend of July 4 and fled the citizens who clashed with them, according to news reports.
Patriot Front, which the Anti-Defamation League calls a white supremacist group, has been active on several occasions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The man identified as the group’s leader, Thomas Rousseau, has been arrested in DFW at least twice. In 2020 he was charged with put stickers on Patriot Front on Parker County Courthouse property and in 2018, police said he hung hate speech posters downtown Fort Worth.
In 2018, the group took credit for hanging a banner stating “kick them all out” from the Morningside Bridge on I-35.
And on Saturday the group took their campaign to white supremacy on the streets of Philly. About 150 to 200 people marched through the city on Saturday night, according to ABC 6 News, wearing face covers and carrying shields and flags. Photos taken by the Philadelphia Inquirer Point to men carrying a banner that says “Take back America”.
Some spectators have started to engage with the group, police told ABC 6 News. The groups began to clash and the photos capture the physical battles that erupted between the shielding Patriot Front members and the counter-protesters. At one point, the group threw smoke bombs as they began to retreat, a police officer told ABC 6 News.
“They started talking to citizens of Philadelphia who weren’t very happy with what they were saying,” Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Crum told ABC 6 News. “These men felt threatened and at one point someone in their crowd threw some kind of smoke bomb to cover their retreat, and they literally ran away from the people of Philadelphia.”
After the group escaped, Philadelphia Police stopped several Penske moving trucks moving away from the downtown area and pulled groups of Patriot Front members into the backs of the trucks, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The police searched the group and eventually released them.
The group operates primarily in Texas, where most of its members live, but its dissemination of hate speech has been identified in at least 12 different states. The group was responsible for 80% of all racist propaganda in the country in 2020, according to the ADL’s annual report on white supremacist propaganda. That number was more than double its total number of incidents in 2019.
Rousseau, who attended Coppell High School, formed Patriot Front after leading a group of people during Charlotteville Unite the Right Gathering.