Founder of Fascist Group Patriot Front Arrested on Virginia Warrant for Burning Tiki Torch

Thomas Rousseau, the founder of the fascist group Patriot Front, has been apprehended in Waco, Texas, on a Virginia warrant related to a charge of burning an object with the intent to intimidate. The object in question is reported to be a tiki torch. This case is connected to the infamous 2017 Charlottesville hate rallies, known as Unite the Right, during which white nationalist demonstrators, including Rousseau, brandished torches and chanted Nazi slogans and antisemitic remarks.

Rousseau, who attended the Unite the Right rally as a leader of the fascist group Vanguard America, was a prominent participant in the events. In a 2020 court deposition, he admitted to holding a torch at the tiki rally for a period before extinguishing it. Rousseau was subsequently booked into McLennan County Jail in Waco, Texas, and his mug shot was taken on February 23. Jail records indicate that he remains in custody on a charge of burning an object to intimidate.

A recent post on Patriot Front’s Telegram account reveals that Rousseau, described as a “leader,” was arrested on a felony warrant from Charlottesville, Virginia. The post alleges that Rousseau’s arrest is the result of a politically motivated seven-year investigation by prosecutors, stemming from the events of the Unite the Right rally. It vehemently denies the charges against Rousseau, labeling them as fabricated.

Under Virginia law, burning an object with the intent to intimidate is classified as a Class 6 felony, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to five years. It remains unclear whether the same commonwealth attorney who brought similar charges against other tiki torch-carrying marchers last year is behind the new charge against Rousseau.

Rousseau’s legal representation in Texas has stated that they will not be representing him in this particular case and are not authorized to speak on his behalf. Vanguard America, the group Rousseau represented at the Unite the Right rally, is classified as a neo-Nazi organization by the Anti-Defamation League. After the rally, Vanguard America’s association with James Fields, who was convicted for driving a car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, led to its disrepute. Rousseau subsequently formed Patriot Front as a successor group, which shares a similar white nationalist ideology but presents itself with a patriotic facade.

Patriot Front has gained notoriety for its acts of public vandalism and targeting of minority groups. Rousseau has faced legal challenges in the past, including charges of conspiracy to riot, which were ultimately dismissed. However, he now faces extradition to Virginia, where he reportedly failed to contest a lawsuit accusing him and Patriot Front of defacing a statue of Arthur Ashe in Richmond in 2021. A pending civil judgment against Rousseau may result in significant consequences.

Author: CrimeDoor

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