Gig Harbor residents are voicing their concerns over fliers from a white nationalist group were taped to utility poles earlier this month near the Tom Taylor YMCA.
“There were over 100 of these on every vertical surface from Home Depot to the YMCA on Borgen Boulevard in Gig Harbor,” resident Ian Paden wrote in an email to The Peninsula Gateway last week.
The fliers touted statements like “resurrection through insurrection” and showed a map of the United States with the phrase “conquered not stolen.”
The fliers direct people to a website called bloodandsoil.org, which uses a historic nationalist slogan. The website has ties to the group Patriot Front, which posted photos of its fliers in Gig Harbor on Twitter. The group has not been identified as a hate group by national organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
The fliers are not the first sign of the group in Gig Harbor. Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey has been receiving calls about fliers, banners and more.
“We have had a couple of instances,” Busey said. “About three or four weeks ago someone called to say there was some ‘Neo-Nazi’ signage up on Borgen Boulevard that was stuck (into) the ground. I went up personally to see it but it was gone. It was from this bloodandsoil.org.”
Then, about two weeks ago residents reported they saw a sign on the Wollochet overpass of state Route 16 stating “America is white.”
“We dispatched an officer to go out but (the banner) was gone before we got there,” Busey said. “We don’t know if the organizers took it or if someone else took it down.”
In his office, Busey had a pile of about 30 crumpled fliers on his desk, which he threw away after taking an initial look at the group.
“I went on their website and read their manifesto,” Busey said. “It’s a bunch of blah, and towards the end it talks about minorities. This does not come to a free-speech issue for us. We did look to see if this was a hate crime, but the answer to that was no.”
The legal term for hate crime is called malicious harassment, and because the fliers did not contain a threat to any certain race, religion or specific group of people it did not fall under the statute of a malicious harassment.
Busey says he hasn’t dealt with an issue such as this, but the department’s ears are perked up.
“If we were to see someone putting up these fliers, we would engage them,” Busey said. “We want to identify them and we would want to see what their endgame is.”