Over the last year in Texas, dozens of incidents involving Boogaloo Bois, white militia, Proud Boys, Trump Trains, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans led to stalking, racial harassments, intimidation, and assaults.
As we all witnessed last week, thousands of white people in Trump hats and American flag shirt storm the Capitol Building of the United States of America. They were violent, carried weapons, and showed up to overthrow the election. All of us watched in horror, we watched it on TV, and hundreds of them live-streamed their crimes straight to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch. At one point, it looks like Woke had 20-streams going. Even though those of us at home were horrified, many of us filled up with dread. Because you’ve seen these groups before. If you live in the South, especially here in Texas, you may have your own horror stories of encounters with them.
Back in October, we wrote about how domestic terrorism was thriving in Texas and laws that were meant to keep us safe, we’re going unenforced. Most of those who were paying attention likely told you it was going to happen. Although it was horrifying, for many it was also unsurprising.
What happened? By which groups? And were they in DC?
The George Floyd Uprising began on May 28th and by June 2, white militia and the Boogaloo Bois were showing up to protests in Hawaiian shirts and armed with assault-style rifles. An article from My San Antonio published how the white militia, Texas Freedom Force, and Boogaloo Bois teamed up to “protect” the Alamo.
What were these white men armed with weapons of war protecting the statue from? Unarmed Black people peacefully protesting for equal justice.
Local activists spoke of a rumor at the time, where white supremacist vigilantes shared with their friends that the Chief gave them “permission” to “shoot protestors who cross the police line” at will.
According to PBS, the Boogaloo Bois was also involved in the violent coup attempt in Washington D.C.
The emergence of the New Braunfels Trump Train.
By now, most in Texas are familiar with the New Braunfels Trump Train and the Ceh family. These were the people who were responsible for trying to run the Biden/Harris tour bus off of the road last October. Living Blue in Comal County has documented this group extensively. On June 2, they showed up at a Black Lives Matter protest as “counter-protesters” to harass Black people. They brandished blue-line flags and Trump banners. After that initial protest, the Ceh family took to social media, called the “counter-protest” a success, and from that the New Braunfels Trump Train was born.
What started as a small gathering of goons with trucks and flags turned into a full-fledged KKK style parade that locked down traffic while people were trying to get home from work. People of color in town changed worked schedules or their route home so they would not be subjected to the Thursday night harassment from the NB Trump Train.
They told Hispanics to “go back where you came from,” yelled the N-word, and nearly run over a Black couple in the Buccees parking lot. The Ceh family’s NB Trump Train allowed a member to drag a BLM flag under their truck, and even proudly made it part of their weekly video.
The New Braunfels Trump Train was in Washington D.C. on January 6th and posted multiple videos of themselves inside the Capitol Building. Living Blue in Comal County screen-recorded the videos before they were deleted and can be seen here.
There were many protests in 2020 in which the white militia, Oath Keepers, showed up armed and in tactical gear to intimidate and harass Black people and their allies peacefully using their first amendment rights. June 10 in El Paso was only one of those times. July 1 in Gainesville was one of the most memorable in North Texas. During that July 1 protest in Gainesville, Black protesters were called the n-word, spit on, and assaulted. Most shocking about that situation was how the local police stood by and did nothing. July is when we saw right-wing violence begin to ratchet up.
Oath Keepers were one of the well-known hate groups identified in the capitol riot.
June 18 in Lockhart, Texas at another Black Lives Matter protest, men outfitted in camouflage and face coverings sat in idling trucks nearby. Texas Monthly reported that the men were there to “protect officers” and possessed “the means to do it.”
Older, well-known right-wing extremists.
CJ Grisham is a right-wing extremist, well-known in Texas to use weapons to harass and intimidate people for nearly a decade. As the leader of the Open Carry movement in Texas, it has long been known of his ties with the 3%ers, however, he joined the Proud Boys in 2019. On June 13 he was in Belton, as a “counter-protester,” against a unity rally. Since January 6, Grisham has taken to YouTube to give advice to his friends and followers on how to deal with the FBI when they come knocking and how the Proud Boys are not Nazis.
On June 6, some brave souls held a Black Lives Matter protest in Vidor, the famous sun-down town and Texas KKK capitol. While there were no white hoods present, there were plenty of white militia in tactical gear and carrying long-arms.
Then, on June 17 in Somerville, armed militia members showed up to a protest composed of unarmed women and children. They were there to intimidate them.
Well-coordinated efforts from these groups to intimidate and commit violence against Black people and their allies.
One of the most dangerous and terrifying situations was on July 25th in Weatherford. That is when hundreds of armed white militia showed up to a small peaceful protest. Dozens were assaulted, called the n-word, and threatened that day.
The groups who showed up in Weatherford on July 25 were comprised of 3%ers, Oath Keepers, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
We’ve watched it happen in Gainesville, time and time again. Oath Keepers and 3%ers have come out to intimidate, assault, and harass mostly Black peaceful protesters.
Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Many decades ago, the Sons of Confederate Veterans it was a well-known fact that the Sons of the Confederate Veterans were closely tied to the Ku Klux Klan. In the modern era, they more closely associate themselves with various other white militia.
The violent insurrection we saw on January 6th will always be known as the first time the traitor flag made it into the Capitol.
Were the Sons of Confederate Veterans behind that act of treason?
No part of Texas has been immune from these right-wing extremists.
On July 26, the very next day after the violent situation in Weatherford, a similar incident occurred in Tyler. The perpetrators of violence in Tyler were white militia members carrying rifles, holding up Trump signs, and waving the Confederate flag. The Tyler incident was in Louie Gohmert’s district. While there was plenty of video showing these Trumpers to be violent, Gohmert denied it. As a reminder, Louie Gohmert is also one of the 17 Texas Republicans who committed sedition.
Only days later, on July 28, it was rumored there were to be a Black Lives Matter protest in Cleburne. No protesters ever showed up, but hundreds of armed white militia carrying Trump signs and Confederate flags did.
On August 18 out of town militia showed up in McKinney. They were ready to go to battle with Black McKinney residents over online rumors.
Only six days after the attack in Washington D.C., on January 12, 2021, the same group who showed up in McKinney last August, (identified by their patches), were pictured in front of the Texas State Capitol with the Texas GOP Chairman, Allen West.
Armed Proud Boys showed up to candlelight vigils for dead Black people and activists multiple times in Texas last year.
A question all rational human beings should be asking is why would an armed militia show up to a prayer vigil. That should make everyone sick to their stomach. Now we know, that the Proud Boys have no problem attacking the United States of America, it shouldn’t surprise us that they would also show up to a prayer vigil.
In August, we saw a huge rally of white Trump supporters show up in Dallas at a well-known Black church.
October in Dallas brought multiple occasions in which armed white militia showed up with intentions of intimidating and harassing peaceful protesters. We also saw militias coming out to peaceful protests in Kaufman.
Police in Texas has always had ties with these terrorists.
Over the last week, it has become increasingly clear that many Capitol Police in D.C. were involved in the violent attempts to overthrow the government. The DC Capitol Police Chief resigned, two have been suspended, and countless others are under investigation. It wasn’t just the Capitol Police, off-duty law enforcement from Texas and all around the country showed up in our nation’s capital to cause violence and destruction. This includes law enforcement officials from Bexar County and Houston.
On May 30, a Hood County Constable, who also happens to be an Oath Keeper took to social media and put out calls to action and spoke of a “global war with Antifa.” How is it possible that Texas law enforcement can openly have ties with white nationalist groups? In Texas, those ties have penetrated hundreds of police departments. Edwards County Sheriffs were caught posing in a picture with the local militia. The Texas Observer also wrote about Edwards County Sheriff Pamela Elliott’s ties with this dangerous militia.
During 2020, there were many reports of Texas police targeting civil rights activists and co-conspiring with white militia groups. In Gainesville and Weatherford, activists have already outed local law enforcement for working directly with the white militias.
It has also been clear law enforcement assisted these militias with the terrorization tactics against Black peaceful protesters.
Recently the Political Research Association found that 161 sheriffs in America aligned themselves with these domestic terrorists. This month, The Atlantic published an investigative journalism report that found a Pro-Trump militia has recruited thousands of police officers, soldiers, and veterans.
Illegal domestic terrorism has been happening at an alarming rate in Texas and law enforcement has done nothing to stop it. Instead, they are letting it happen, because in most cases law enforcement aligns or is part of these militia groups.
The violent insurrection we saw in Washington D.C. on January 6 was a repeat of what we all witnessed in Texas all throughout 2020.