Hate in the Sunshine State: Extremism & Antisemitism in Florida … – ADL

Posted By on October 8, 2023

Whos Who Floridas Extremist Landscape

Overlapping White Supremacist/Antisemitic Network

In the state of Florida, an overlapping network of white supremacists has emergedwith the antisemitic Goyim Defense League (GDL) at its center. This network, which often collaborates in planning and executing propaganda distribution campaigns, banner drops, and in-person demonstrations, also includes White Lives Matter (WLM), the New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA), NSDAP (named after the Nazi Party of Germany), Sunshine State Nationalists (SSN), NatSoc Florida (NSF) and the National Socialist Movement (NSM). More information on these groups is provided below.

Many of the individuals in this network, which includes dozens of people, attend events organized by multiple groups. This tactic gives the appearance of larger numbers, and the actions can affect entire communities. This was the case in January 2022, when more than a dozen individuals associated with this white supremacist network participated in a neo-Nazi demonstration in Orlando during which several of the attendees spat on, pepper-sprayed and punched a Jewish man who stopped to confront the group. In February 2022, the Orange County Sheriffs Department arrested and charged three people for their alleged roles in the hate crime assault; NSM leader Burt Colucci and Joshua Terrell, a racist skinhead from Bedford Indiana, are charged with hate crime assault, while Florida-based white supremacist Jason J. Brown has been charged with grand theft.

Goyim Defense League (GDL): GDL, a loose network of antisemitic provocateurs, have established a significant presence in Florida, including Dominic Di Giorgio, who helped launch the networks video streaming platform and the GDLs online store. Led by Jon Minadeo II of Petaluma, California, GDLs overarching goal is to cast aspersion on Jews and spread antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories. In the state of Florida, GDL overlaps with a network of white supremacists and antisemites that routinely distribute propaganda and hold small street actions.

In May 2021, the GDL led an antisemitic Name the Nose tour in central and south Florida, which consisted of 15 straight days of antisemitic stunts including demonstrations outside Jewish institutions, banner drops and propaganda distributions. They also drove around in a van covered in antisemitic and white supremacist symbols, slurs and phrases while shouting profanity-laced slurs from the windows.

The GDL van used during GDLs May 2021 tour in Florida

In October 2021, Di Gorgiousing his personal vandrove approximately six Florida-based GDL devotees to Texas to participate in a similar tour in southeastern Texas. During the tour, while driving members of the group during their antisemitic and racist activities, Di Gorgio was arrested for possession of a license plate flipper which allows a vehicles owner to flip between two license plates.

Jason J. Brown, a Florida-based neo-Nazi who has been active with GDL since at least November 2020, assisted with the organization of GDLs May tour in Florida and attended the Texas tour, along with Di Gorgio. Originally from New Jersey, Brown is also associated with the NJEHA and the NSM. He has attended some of the White Lives Matter events in south and central Florida. In addition to charges related to the previously mentioned January 2022 hate crime assault in Orlando, Brown is also facing unrelated felony domestic battery by strangulation charges in Brevard County.

National Socialist Movement (NSM): NSM is a neo-Nazi group with membership scattered around the country. Openly worshipful of Hitler, the group is one of the most explicitly neo-Nazi organizations in the United States. Its platform calls for an all-white greater America that would deny citizenship and virtually all legal protection to non-whites, Jews and the LGBTQ+ population. NSM reserves the brunt of its vitriol for Jews and immigrants, espousing crudely racist and antisemitic ideology.

NSM is currently led by longtime member Burt Colucci, of Kissimmee, Florida. In addition to charges stemming from the January 2022 hate crime assault in Orlando, Colucci faces several additional charges for allegedly threatening violence. In December of 2021, Colucci was indictedon two counts of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and one count of felony disorderly conduct. Those charges stem from an incident in April of 2021 duringwhich Colucci allegedly pointed a handgun at a group of Black people during an argument and sprayed chemical agents into their vehicle in Chandler, Arizona.

While the NSM is much smaller than it was a decade ago, group members have attended multiple rallies in Florida, often in partnership with the NJEHA, WLM, the GDL or other white supremacist organizations. NSM members have travelled from as far as Washington state to attend these events.

Prominent Florida-based NSM member David Howard Wydner has claimed in online NSM chats that he is spending every waking hour to increase the size of our protests in Florida where I live. Wydner also posted that his goal is to become the most hated man in Florida.

Wydner came to the attention of COE after he engaged in a racist and homophobic rant at a Best Buy in Port Richey, Florida that was caught on video and shared on YouTube on December 12, 2021. In the video, Wydner is seen screaming and cursing at Best Buy staff, shouting white power and the antisemitic catchphrasethe goyim know,and showing off his swastika tattoo. In December 2021, he participated in a White Lives Matter event in Deland, Florida, wearing an NSM-branded shirt and hat. The following day, he participated in a banner drop with members of theGDL in Port Saint John, Florida, on the Ranch Road overpass above I-95, which included a banner that read: "expel the Jews 2022. Wydners active affiliation with NSM, WLM, and GDL illustrates Floridas overlapping network of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and antisemites that are working together to share and spread their hateful views.

New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA): The NJEHA is a New Jersey-based white supremacist group that is active in multiple states including Florida. Founded in 2018, NJEHA believes it is protecting white European people and culture from extinction; their ideology is represented via the groups propaganda distribution, banner drops, flash demonstrations and other public actions. Their propaganda promotes racism and includes antisemitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Israel themes.

NSDAP: The NSDAP is a small, Florida-based neo-Nazi group named after the Nazi Party of the Third Reich. Led by Colby Ace Alexander Frank of Florida, the group is most active on the end-to-end encrypted chat service, Telegram, but also operates their own website.

NSDAP demonstrators at Disney World in Orlando in May 2022

NSDAP distributes their own white supremacist propaganda promoting their website, as well as GDL flyers and leaflets. NSDAP members frequently attend White Lives Matter Florida events and rallies, and in February of 2022, they held their own demonstration outside of the Daytona 500 NASCAR event in Daytona Beach, an event that draws more than 100,000 people from across the U.S.

Sunshine State Nationalists (SSN): SSN are a new Florida-based neo-Nazi organization established in early 2022 by Pale Heretic, an associate of GDL and NSM. The group, which refers to itself as Rons Holocaust Task Force, a reference to Governor DeSantis, engages in activism to free the state from Jewish rule from Miami, Dayton, Palm Beach County and Boca Raton.

SSN is highly integrated into Floridas white supremacist network, often operating in conjunction with other groups. In February of 2022, Pale Heretic joined GDL affiliates in a banner drop on an overpass in Orlando which proceeded a rally outside of the venue for the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where SSN and GDL displayed messages reading Jews are the virus, dont say n*gger, and antisemitism is a human right. The events were livestreamed on GDLs antisemitic streaming platform. In April of 2022, Christopher Fara, an Orange County-based neo-Nazi, former skinhead and leader of White Lives Matter Florida, held a demonstration outside of Disney World with approximately three other individuals, distributing GDL and SSN-branded propaganda.

NatSoc Florida (NSF): NSF is an emerging Duval County-based neo-Nazi organization established by white supremacist Joshua Dan Nunes of Jacksonville, who was identified by the Center on Extremism in June of 2022. Since July 2022, the group has dramatically expanded its range of activities, holding demonstrations and distributing antisemitic GDL propaganda along with their own.

White Lives Matter (WLM): WLM is a network of white supremacists who engage in pro-white activism on a designated day each month. WLM promotes a white supremacist worldview, advocating for raising white racial consciousness and the eventual formation of white ethnostates in North America, Europe and Australia. Founded in 2021, the growing network maintains an active presence in more than two dozen states, including Florida. WLMs Florida network is led by Christopher Fara.

In Florida, the local WLM network routinely rallies alongside members of the antisemitic GDL and neo-Nazi groups such as the NSM, NJEHA and NSDAP.

WLM Florida has condemned these outside groups on occasion. During a November 2021 WLM rally in Orlando, members of NSM and GDL shouted racist and antisemitic slurs at passing vehicles. Subsequently, WLM Florida issued a statement, writing on Telegram that several people showed up today that did not promote pro white [sic] unity. Instead, they used our event as a platform to troll and yell obscenities. We do NOT condone this behavior and will be banning anyone who does this in the future. Despite this statement, WLM Florida maintains close ties to, and continues to rally alongside, members of GDL and NSM.

GDL actor Zack Parrott during a WLM Florida rally in January 2022

Key Incidents

Additional White Supremacist Groups operating in Florida

In addition to the overlapping white supremacist network, other white supremacist groups also operate in the state of Florida. These groups are not aligned with the groups in the aforementioned white supremacist network and operate independently, each holding their own events and spreading their brand of white supremacist propaganda.

America First/Groyper Movement: Florida has become a hotbed for America First and Groyper activity in recent years, a loose network of alt right figures who are vocal supporters of white supremacist and America First podcast hostNick Fuentes. Fuentes followers, the so-called Groyper army, present their ideology as more nuanced by aligning with Christianity and traditional American values. Like the other white supremacists, Groypers believe that they are working to defend against demographic and cultural changes that are destroying the true Americaa white, Christian nation.

Groypers identify themselves as American nationalists who are part of the America First movement. To the Groypers, America First means that the U.S. should close its border, bar immigrants, oppose globalism and promote traditional values like Christianity, while opposing liberal values such as feminism and LGBTQ+ rights. Groypers claim not to be racist or antisemitic and see their bigoted views as normal and necessary to preserve white, European-American identity and culture; however, members repeatedly express racist and antisemitic views both online and on the ground.

Many Groypers have recently relocated to Florida. On March 8, 2022, Nicholas J. Fuentes announced his plan to move from Chicago to Florida in the coming months and announced the construction of an America First studio in the state. Other Groypers, including Lauren Witzke, Anthime Gionet (Baked Alaska) and Jared Noble (Woozuh) along with Tyler Russell, the leader of Canada First, the Canadian branch of Fuentes America First movement, also recently moved to the state.

Groyper propaganda alleging Florida is America First Territory.

Since 2020, movement leader Fuentes and America First have organized the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) to serve as a white supremacist counterweight to the annual CPAC event held in Orlando in February. AFPAC III, held in 2022, featured nine speakers, including white supremacists, media personalities and political figures, most notably, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Various special guests were also in attendance, white supremacists Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow among them.

Fuentes also organized a Big Tech Press Conference in Florida in April 2021, which was attended by a variety of right-wing speakers who have aligned themselves with Fuentes including Michele Malkin, Lauren Witzke and Laura Loomer. Enrique Tarrio and other Proud Boys were also present, but Fuentes did not attend the conference after claiming that he had been placed on the federal No Fly List for his role in the January 6 insurrection.

America Firsts success in attracting sizeable attendance including right wing-influencers and elected officials to events in Florida, like AFPAC and the Big Tech Conference, show the rallying potential of Fuentes and the America First movement. The state will likely continue to serve as a staging ground for the white supremacist movement.

In August 2022, Alejandro Richard Velasquez Gomez was arrested after he allegedly threatened on social media to carry out a mass shooting at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit event in Tampa. The FBI alleges that Gomez posted on his Instagram: July 22 [the first day of the event] is the day of retribution that day I will have revenge against all humanity which all of you will pay for my suffering [sic]. Gomez has been charged with making threatening interstate communications, along with possession of child pornography. In 2021, Gomez, who is also a self-described incel, or involuntary celibate, met and took a picture with Nick Fuentes at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Gomez (right) and Nick Fuentes (left) at CPAC in July 2021

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Endangered Souls: Originally a white supremacist motorcycle riding club, the Endangered Souls are a tiny Florida-based social club also referred to as Crew 519, an alpha numeric representation of E and S. Led by Shawn Mann of Bradenton, the Endangered Souls are dedicated to the advancement and preservation of the white race and have been known to distribute propaganda and hold small private gatherings.

Florida Nationalists: The Florida Nationalists are a neo-Nazi group active throughout the state, but especially in south Florida, where they distribute propaganda and stage small demonstrations. Though established in early 2022, the Florida Nationalists have already spread messaging to large audiences using quick response (QR) codes on stickers and flyers. These scannable codes, displayed alongside cryptic messaging like scan me if white and the only way to keep Florida red is to keep Florida white, quickly navigate passersby to the groups accounts and other sites that share their antisemitic and white supremacist ideology.

In May of 2022, an individual associated with the group prominently displayed a banner reading end the war on whites written above the groups logo, a Totenkopf with sunglasses, at the Broward County Main Library in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Florida Nationalists in Fort Lauderdale May 2022

League of the South (LoS): LoS is a white supremacist group that advocates for southern secession and an independent, white-dominated South. Originally a neo-Confederate organization, LoS, and its founder and leader, Michael Hill of Killian, Alabama, have adopted overtly racist and antisemitic rhetoric. The group organizes white supremacist rallies, private conferences and occasional flash demonstrations.

Even in its early years, the LoS attracted some hard-core extremists to its ranks, including Michael Tubbs, a Florida-based white supremacist. In 1987, Tubbs and another person assaulted and robbed two Black soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, while yelling, this is for the Klan. Authorities discovered an arsenal of weapons and explosives connected to Tubbs, much of it stolen from military installationsand some subsequently sold to white supremacist groups. By then, Tubbs had his own group, the Knights of the New Order, and was plotting to target black and Jewish-owned businesses. In 1991, Tubbs pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges, and following his release from prison, he joined the LoS and eventually became a leader in its Florida chapter. Tubbs remains a key member of the LoS as leader of the Florida chapter and as a de facto right-hand of Michael Hill.

Another Florida-based LoS member is William Finck, a Christian Identity preacher who operates a Christian Identity network called Christogenea.

Though relatively inactive compared to other extremist groups in the state, the LoS continues to network, recruit and hold events in Florida. In June 2022, the LoS held their annual national conference in Lake City, which included as speakers founder Michael Hill, and prominent white supremacists David Duke and Kevin MacDonald. The Florida chapter also hosts an annual conference in the Lake City area.

Key Incidents

Patriot Front: Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them alone. They define themselves as American fascists or American nationalists who are focused on preserving Americans identity as a European-American one. Starting in 2020, Patriot Front transitioned from using explicit antisemitic and white supremacist language in its propaganda to more covert bigoted language, promoting a form of patriotism that emboldens white supremacy, xenophobia, antisemitism, and fascism. Patriot Front often uses its rhetoric and propaganda to target its perceived enemies. This has included leaving flyers at a Black church, stickering LGBTQ+ community centers and vandalizing George Floyd memorials and other inclusiveness murals in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Kentucky.

Since it splintered from Vanguard America in 2017, Patriot Front has grown into one of the most prominent and consistently active white supremacist groups operating within the United States. In 2021, Patriot Front distributed nearly 4,000 pieces of propaganda more than 82 percent of all white supremacist propaganda incidents nationally distributing propaganda in every state except Hawaii and Alaska. As revealed in their communications, leaked by Unicorn Riot in January 2022, these high propaganda numbers are driven by a weekly propaganda quota which members are required to meet. Florida remained a target for many of the group's actions.

Patriot Front is led by a national team, directed by Thomas Rousseau, and networks, which oversee the state level activities including meetings, propaganda distributions, and local recruitment. Patriot Front Florida, Network 16, is led by Stephen James Trimboli, aka Lawrence FL."

Since January 2021, there have been 150 incidents of Patriot Front activity in the state of Florida. The majority of these incidents involved white supremacist propaganda in the form of graffiti, banner drops, and flyers. In October 2021, approximately a dozen Patriot Front members ran a paramilitary drill in Tallahassee, Florida, where members took part in shield-wall maneuvers, extraction drills and other training. Each regional network was allegedly expected to hold these drilling sessions in preparation for their December 2021 annual flash demonstration in Washington, D.C. On June 11, 2022, one of the key organizers of the Tallahassee training event, Wesley Evan Van Horn, was arrested along with 30 other Patriot Front members on misdemeanor criminal conspiracy charges after police stopped their U-Haul truck near a Pride in the Park event in Coeur dAlene, Idaho. According to law enforcement reports, individuals were found with a smoke bomb and riot shields. Van Horn, who lives in Alabama, is an alleged regional Network Director, covering the areas of northern Alabama, Georgia and southern Tennessee, who traveled to Florida for the training.

Key Incidents

Patriot Front members drill in Tallahassee (Source: Tallahassee Democrat)

Unforgiven: The Unforgiven are a large white supremacist prison/street gang based in in Florida. Members and associates of the group have faced mounting legal issues in 2021.

Sixteen members were arrested in July 2021 for violent crimes in aid of racketeering including murder, kidnapping, robbery and obstruction of justice. Included in those arrested was David Allen Howell of Zolfo Springs who was charged with assaulting protestors by allegedly pulling a machete at a Peace Walk for Black Lives in June 2020.

In July 2021, Unforgiven member Michael Curzio of Summerfield was sentenced to six months incarceration and $500 in restitution after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor for his participation in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

United Skinhead Nation (USN): USN is a small Okeechobee-based racist skinhead crew that was formed by John Kopko in mid-2018 after leaving the Hammerskins, one of the oldest hardcore racist skinhead groups in the United States. USN has a small national presence and is structured with regional crews. USN typically holds an annual event called Swamp Fest, a private white supremacist festival featuring food, speakers and music.

USN members participating in Swamp Fest October 2020

Vinlanders Social Club (VSC): The VSC is a small hardcore racist skinhead gang that originated in the mid-west in the mid-2000s. It has a high association with violence, including multiple murders. Today, the largest chapter of the gang resides in Florida and is led by Don Hansard of Davie.

Since 2018, VSC Florida has fostered an alliance with the Unforgiven prison gang. When referencing the alliance members use the phrase Only the Folk. In August 2018, Hansard wrote on Facebook, OTF transcends crew lines. We are one Folk. In May 2021, members of both gangs traveled together to visit Stone Mountain Park in Georgia.

VSC and Unforgiven members at private gathering in November 2020

Proud Boys

TheProud Boysare a right-wing extremist group with a violent agenda. They are primarilymisogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration. Some members espouse white supremacist and antisemitic ideologies and/or engage with white supremacist groups. Proud Boys are known to attend public rallies and protests sporting black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts, other black and yellow clothing, and tactical vests. Members have been known to engage in violent tactics and several members have been convicted of violent crimes.

2020was a significant year for the Proud Boys, during which the group solidified its status as one of the most visible and most active right-wing extremist group in the country. As the nation grappled with the pandemic, members of the Proud Boys became a regular sight at anti-lockdown protests, using the demonstrations not only to raise their profile, but as recruitment opportunities. In 2021, Proud Boys members accounted for the highest numbers of extremist arrestees in relation to the January 6insurrection, including at least eleven Floridians who allegedly belong to local Proud Boys chapters. Additionally,Proud Boys latched on to anti-mask and anti-vaccine activism, attending, and at times disrupting, school board meetings as well as related protests and rallies.

In 2022, the Proud Boys continue to struggle with leadership issues as influential members remain incarcerated and face legal challenges related to their participation in the January 6insurrection. In June 2022, former National Chairman of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and four other influential Proud Boys members were also charged with seditious conspiracy related to the insurrection. These are some of the most serious charges levied against any insurrection participants and the charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.This is, in part, why the Proud Boys have moved to a more grassroots leadership and organizational structure, with individual chapters exerting increased autonomy. Coalitions of chapters have developed in Florida, with some chapters aligned with former National Chairman Enrique Tarrio, and other chapters aligning around their distaste for Tarrio. This distancing is based on the political, rally-going, and often violent, direction Tarrio took the group and also based on allegations that broke in January 2021, claiming that Tarrio was an FBI informant. In February 2022, Tarrio told the Miami New Times that he would be taking a step back from leadership of the Proud Boy after organizing "the mess in South Florida's Proud Boys."

There are 15 chapters affiliated with the Proud Boys in the state of Florida, which has been divided into 6 zones. Most Florida chapters are actively recruiting new members through their own Telegram channels and websites.

The former Proud Boys National Chairman, Enrique Tarrio, founded the original Miami Vice City chapter of the Proud Boys, and thus Florida has served as a major hub of Proud Boys activity and influence.

2021 was a year of major changes for the Proud Boys. Tarrio was absent from the Insurrection on January 6, 2021,having been arrested two days priorfor the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner outside of a historic Black church and for the possession of a high-capacity firearm magazine. However, Tarrio was allegedly still directing insurrection related action according to federal charges in an indictment of Tarrio and five other Proud Boys members. Tarrio spent five months in prison in 2021 on charges related to the banner burning, and quickly returned to prison with the new federal charges related to his role in inciting the insurrection. 2021 saw the split of the Miami chapter and major friction and in-fighting between Florida Proud Boys members. In January 2021, allegations broke that Tarrio was an FBI informant which led to initial descension within the group and leading a few chapters, including chapters outside of Florida, to declare autonomy from the National Proud Boys organization. The Vice City (Miami) chapter, which Tarrio founded, turned against him and this chapter was denounced by the national Proud Boys organization. After this denunciation, a new South Florida chapter was formed.

In February 2022, Tarriotold the Miami New Timesthat he was stepping down as National Chairman of the Proud Boys and planned to create a new organization for political activism for right-wing causes. Since Tarrios arrest on March 8, 2022, on federal charges related to the Insurrection, his future involvement with the Proud Boys remains uncertain. For the Proud Boys as an organization, this means it is time to find a new leader or lean further into chapter autonomy and let individual chapter presidents make their own rules. Currently, it is a fight between autonomy and a national leadership still clinging to and attempting to assert control over the chapters. Confusion has punctuated the first half of 2022 for the Proud Boys organization without clear national leadership or direction and as a result, chapters have taken more of the reins. Previously "denounced" chapters have ignored their exclusion from the national organization and have continued to operate as autonomous Proud Boys chapters.

According to the New York Times, at least 6 current and former members of the Proud Boys have seats on the 2021-2022 Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee. Of the Proud Boys on the committee, two are facing federal charges related to their participation in the insurrection. Proud Boys membership on this committee represents the Proud Boys most successful foray into local politics by far, a strategy increasingly encouraged over the past two years as the National Proud Boys leadership lost influence and eventually dissolved with many of the leading Proud Boys members incarcerated and/or facing charges related to the insurrection.

Proud Boys in Miami, May 2021

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Anti-Government Extremism

Oath Keepers: The Oath Keepers are a large but loosely organized national collection of right-wing anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement, which believes that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights. The Oath Keepers accept anyone as members, but what differentiates them from other anti-government extremist groups is their explicit focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and first responder personnel. According to a recent leak of Oath Keeper membership data, approximately 2,700 people signed up with the organization using Florida addresses. While this number does not necessarily indicate present Florida membership or activity in the group, as people may have passed away, moved out of state, or signed up without engaging, the groups level of recruitment in Florida is still troubling.

The Oath Keepers gained national notoriety for their participation in the January 6 insurrection. Of the Oath Keepers arrested in connection to the insurrection, at least seven are Florida residents, four of whom are facing charges of seditious conspiracy. Of note, Florida resident Kelly Meggs, who is of the individuals charged with seditious conspiracy and the state lead for the Florida Oath Keepers, allegedly claimed to have organized an alliance between the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters in the lead up to January 6. Three of the indicted Oath Keepers also allegedly attended two gunfight-oriented training events in Leesburg, Florida.

Sovereign Citizen Movement: The sovereign citizen movement is a loosely organized collection of groups and individuals who believe that in the 19th century, a shadowy group of conspirators infiltrated the original, lawful government of the United States and subverted it into an illegitimate, tyrannical government that has been using secret contracts to enslave all Americans. Sovereign citizens claim that people can divorce themselves from this illegitimate government, which thereafter has no jurisdiction or authority over them. While their beliefs seem like nonsense to outsiders, sovereign citizens can pose a threat to public officials, law enforcement, and civilians, waging war against their perceived enemies using paper terrorism harassment and intimidation tactics and in some cases, resorting to violence.

Over the past year, a small but growing number of QAnon adherents have openly embraced sovereign citizen beliefs and tactics. One of the major drivers of this trend is Florida-based QAnon influencer Ann Vandersteel, who began working with popular sovereign citizen guru Bobby Lawrence to correct her citizenship status in July 2021, and in January 2022, she announced on Telegram that she had completed the process and had officially become an American State National. Lawrence, along with fellow sovereign citizen guru David Straight, has hosted dozens of seminars across the U.S., where they teach followers their theories and tactics. The pair held two American State National seminars in Florida this year: Lawrence taught a seminar in Destin in July 2022 that was attended by around 140 individuals, and Straight taught a seminar in Fort Myers in May 2022 that was attended by around 125 people.

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QAnon is a baseless, wide-reaching big tent conspiracy theory popular among a range of right-wing extremists and some high-profile supporters of former president Trump. The movement is scattershot and sprawling, and includes anti-government elements, as well as marked undertones of antisemitism and xenophobia. QAnon is a dangerous conspiracy theory that has inspired violent acts and has eroded trust in democratic institutions.

QAnon theories are based on alleged intelligence provided by an anonymous figure known as Q, who QAnon adherents believe is part of a military intelligence operation leaking information to the public about a secret war being waged by former president Donald Trump against the Deep State, a cabal of shadowy, Satan-worshipping pedophiles who control world governments and engage in child sex trafficking. QAnon adherents believe that members of the cabal will be brought to justice during the Storm, a day of reckoning in which the cabal and its collaborators will be arrested en masse and sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they will face military tribunals and possible execution. The theory has spread widely over the past two years, gaining a significant foothold in the mainstream conservative movement. Q re-emerged in June 2022 after 18 months of silence, sparking a renewed sense of hope among adherents that Qs outlandish predictions will soon come true.

Across the United States, QAnon supporters have run for a handful of elected positions at the local, state, and federal levels. ADL has identified 12 candidates running for Congress in Florida this year who have expressed some level of support for QAnon. Carla Spalding, who is running for Floridas 25th Congressional District, was the only QAnon-linked candidate to win the Aug. 2022 primary and advance to the November general election. Independent candidate Christine Scott, who is running for Floridas 23rd Congressional District, also qualified for the general election ballot. Four QAnon-linked candidates ran for Congress in Florida in 2020, according to Media Matters. Florida is also home to several popular QAnon figures, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and notoriously antisemitic QAnon influencer Robert GhostEzra Smart.

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Black Nationalist Extremism

Black Hebrew Israelites: The Black Hebrew Israelite (BHI) movement is a fringe religious movement that rejects widely accepted definitions of Judaism and asserts that people of color are the true children of Israel. The movement includes both extremist and non-extremist factions. Members of extremist BHI sects promote virulent antisemitism, including asserting that Jews are liars and false worshipers of God, Jews have no right to Israel as a homeland, Jews purposely enslaved Black individuals to steal their identity, and that Jews are imposters or fake Jews. Judaism is frequently referred to as the Synagogue of Satan byantisemitic BHIfollowers.

While the headquarters for most of the larger extremist BHI sects are located outside the state, several groups have chapters in Florida. Israel United in Christ (IUIC), the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK), and the Sicarii Hebrew Israelites all have chapters in Florida. Cities with active chapters include Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tallahassee. ISUPK members from across the country gathered in Cocoa Beach, FL in April 2022 for the groups 53rd Annual Passover gathering.

Thee Light of Zion (LOZ), a smaller extremist BHI sect, is headquartered in Florida in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County. The group also has chapters in Lee County, Miami-Dade County, and the Treasure Coast region. Its members sometimes partner with other BHI groups, including the Sicarii.

BHI chapters common activities include street teaching and other public speaking events. They frequently post livestreams of their street and classroom teachings on social media, where they can reach many followers. IUICs Florida chapters, for example, have 10K30K subscribers each, while LOZs main YouTube channel has approximately 20K subscribers.

Nation of Islam: The Nation of Islam (NOI), the largest Black nationalist organization in the U.S., maintains a consistent record of antisemitism and bigotry since its founding in the 1930s. Nonetheless, some mainstream figures and groups, including elected officials and celebrities, have publicly supported the NOI, focusing on the groups community-based efforts while overtly ignoring or minimizing the groups well-established hate-filled record.

During his 40-year tenure as the NOIs leader, Louis Farrakhan has built a legacy of divisiveness as one of the most prominent figures promoting antisemitism in America, frequently referring to Jews as the Synagogue of Satan and fake Jews. Farrakhan has also espoused anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-white bigotry, as well as a range of conspiratorial beliefs. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, NOI leaders have publicly blamed the Jews for the pandemic and peddled vaccine conspiracy theories, instructing their followers not to trust the vaccine mafia.

NOI operates numerous local chaptersdesignated as numbered Muhammad Mosques for chapters with larger memberships or Study Groups for smaller locationsacross Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale (Muhammad Mosque No. 82), Jacksonville (Muhammad Mosque No. 66), Miami (Muhammad Mosque No. 29), Orlando (Study Group), Pensacola (Muhammad Mosque No. 98), St. Petersburg (Muhammad Mosque No. 95), Tampa (Muhammad Mosque No. 47), and Winter Haven (Study Group).

The NOIs Tampa and Jacksonville locations both achieved mosque status in 2021, indicating a recent increase in their membership. The Miami mosque serves as one of the NOIs Regional Headquarters.

New Black Panther Party for Self Defense: TheNew Black Panther Party for Self Defense(NBPP) is the largest organized Black militant group in the country.NBPP ideology blends aspects of Black Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, antisemitism, and anti-white bigotry. The NBPP also has ties to the NOI. The NBPPs divisive positions have been condemned by members of the original Black Panthers.

The group is active in various cities throughout the state, including in Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Tampa. Activities include holding armed demonstrations, leading trainings, and organizing community events. Local leaders and group members sometimes travel outside of Florida to participate in NBPP events in other states. The NBPPs activities also include working with other Black nationalist groups.

The NBPP has regularly drawn attention for its calls for violence against law enforcement, white people, and others, including in Florida. After the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, FL in 2012, for example, local NBPP representatives offered a $10,000 bounty for the capture of Zimmerman dead or alive.

Other groups: The Uhuru Movement, also known as the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), is a Florida-based international socialist Black separatist organization. Founded in the 1970s, the Uhuru Movement is affiliated with the African Peoples Socialist Party (APSP), whose co-founder and chairman is Omali Yeshitela. The Uhuru Movement has ties to antisemitic Black nationalist organizations, including the Nation of Islam (NOI), New Black Panther Party for Self Defense (NBPP) and the Black Hammer Organization.

In July 2022, federal agents conducted a raid at the Uhuru Movements headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, in connection to an investigation into Russian national Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, who is accused of conspiring to use multiple Black nationalist groups in the U.S. to spread pro-Russia propaganda and interfere in U.S. elections. The Atlanta, GA-based Black Hammer Organizationwhose leader, Augustus Cornelius Romain, Jr. (AKA Gazi Kodzo), formerly served as a leader in the Uhuru Movementwas also connected to the alleged pro-Russian conspiracy. Neither Uhuru Movement nor Black Hammer Organization leaders have been charged in the federal case against Ionov.

Recent criminal activity: The most notable recent instance of violence perpetrated by a Black nationalist extremist in Florida came in June 2021, when Othal O-Zone Wallace allegedly shot Daytona Beach police officer Jason Raynor, who died from his injuries two months later. An investigation after Wallaces arrest uncovered multiple connections to Black nationalist groups. Wallace had participated in events organized by the Not Fucking Around Coalition (NFAC), a Georgia-based Black nationalist paramilitary group. In early 2021, Wallace appears to have broken ties with NFAC and founded Black Nation, a group that combined the militant style of the NFAC with BHI ideology. Wallace had also participated in events with and received support from members of the NBPP, who continue to lead fundraising efforts for Wallaces legal defense in 2022.

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Hate in the Sunshine State: Extremism & Antisemitism in Florida ... - ADL

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