Hatewatch has identified a ringleader of the Patriot Front group alleged to have destroyed a mural depicting famous Black Americans on a college campus in St. Louis, Missouri last December.
Prosecutors in St. Louis announced on March 8 that they charged Mitchell Frederick Wagner, 24, of Florissant, Missouri, with felony first-degree property damage in connection with the destruction of the mural. They said three other individuals were with Wagner the night of the alleged act of vandalism, but have not released their names. Based on our investigation, Hatewatch believes we have identified one of them, and have confirmed the identity of another man previously reported by a Chicago antifascist group.
Hatewatch identified Garret J. Garland, 24, of Freeburg, Illinois, as having assisted Wagner in planning and perpetrating the December 2021 vandalism, with the help of private chats leaked by the journalist collective Unicorn Riot. Based on these chats, it appears Garland worked closely with local and national Patriot Front leadership to carry out the property damage. They also indicate that he recruited Wagner and Logan Plank, 18, of Wood River, Illinois, and one still-unidentified individual to participate in the destruction of the mural.
Hatewatch identified Garland and Plank as Wagner’s accomplices using the chats, as well as open-source information. Plank’s identity was derived using the same means, following reporting on his name and identity earlier this year from a Chicago antifascist group.
A license plate posted to Twitter of a vehicle leaving a Chicago Patriot Front rally in January led Hatewatch to Garland and his now-deleted Facebook account.
On Jan. 8, an activist on the scene of a Patriot Front rally shared a video with Hatewatch showing a silver Ford Fusion and its license plate. Hatewatch authenticated the video by comparing the footage with video clips shared to Twitter by other activists on the scene. Hatewatch used information from a data broker to associate the plate number with Garland’s name, address and email addresses. Hatewatch then identified Garland’s personal Facebook account.
Hatewatch identified Garland’s employer, Sigman Heating and Air Conditioning, in Belleville, Illinois. In January, Hatewatch left a message with the company for Garland, and a man stating he was Garland called back an hour later. Immediately after Hatewatch staff identified themselves, the man hung up.
In video footage posted to Twitter, Garland is observed in his car picking up members of Patriot Front following the rally in Chicago. Thomas Rousseau, the founder and leader of Patriot Front, who does not conceal his identity, is seen entering Garland’s vehicle. In video sent to Hatewatch, Kieran Patrick Morris and Allen Michael Goff, as well as one unidentified person, are also seen entering the vehicle. In the video, Goff removes his face covering and introduces himself to an activist on the scene using his movement alias “Lucca Corgiat.” In the same video sent to Hatewatch, Patriot Front members are heard using the well-known movement alias for Morris, which antifascists activists uncovered in 2020.
Rousseau, Morris and Goff have extensive histories as known members of SPLC-designated white nationalist hate groups. Hatewatch has recently revealed that Rousseau was involved in a fatal car accident in Utah that left a member of Patriot Front dead. Earlier this year, Hatewatch uncovered the identity of Allen Michael Goff, who uses the alias ‘Lucca Corgiat’ and is a videographer for Media2Rise. When he was 17, Goff allegedly shot a Latino teen with a handgun. After pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, he was sentenced to six months’ probation and had to pay a small fine. While Montana prosecutors also decided to try him as an adult for felony assault and charge him with a hate crime, the judge determined the offense did not constitute a hate crime and excluded much of the prosecution’s evidence, and Goff was ultimately acquitted.
Goff produces propaganda for Media2Rise, a white nationalist hate group founded by Robert Rundo. Rundo now lives in Serbia after fleeing federal conspiracy charges for his alleged role in assaults of counterprotesters at far-right rallies in California in 2017.
Hatewatch attempted to reach Goff and Rundo through their organization’s website but did not receive a response.
According to leaked documents, Morris lives with Rousseau in Haslet, Texas. A New York antifascist organization reported that Morris is known as Patrick NY and advocates for violence against minority groups. Morris attempted to join the deadly neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen Division before joining Patriot Front.
A phone number linked to Morris by a data broker was disconnected.
‘I can finally be a national socialist now’
Hatewatch compared photographs of Garland to photographs of Patriot Front members from the Unicorn Riot leak. Based on these photographs, Garland appears to be “Randolph IL.” Hatewatch sent an image of Randolph IL via email to Mike Rizzo, a representative of Sigman Heating and Air Conditioning, who agreed that the image appeared to be Garland.
“If these allegations are true, they certainly do not reflect the beliefs or values of our company. ... That behavior is unacceptable from any employee at Sigman,” Rizzo said.
According to Rizzo, Garland left the company March 11, the same week Wagner was charged with a felony. Hatewatch attempted to contact Garland again in March to confirm his resignation at the company, but his number was disconnected.
In Patriot Front chats, members use aliases to disguise their identity. Those aliases typically include the state in which they reside. Leaked private chats reveal how the person behind the alias Randolph IL, who Hatewatch believes based on the investigation recounted above to be Garland, planned and perpetrated the destruction of the St. Louis mural. On Dec. 13, 2021, five days before the vandalism, Randolph IL shared a weekly meeting report with the local chapter leader of Patriot Front who subsequently shared it with Rousseau. Under the bullet point “Upcoming Activism,” Randolph IL wrote: “Weekend Plans: Randolph IL, Sam MN, Kyle MO, and Clarke IL will stencil at Wash U. Randy will plan, Kyle will photograph.”
The mural that was destroyed was created in 2020 by a collective of local artists and featured famous Black Americans, particularly figures of note to St. Louis, including Annie Malone, one of the first Black millionaires and a prominent philanthropist, and Robert L. Williams, a professor at Washington University – the campus on which the mural stood – who coined the term “Ebonics.” It also featured civil rights leader John Lewis and actor Chadwick Boseman.
After his arrest, antifascist researchers identified Kyle MO as Wagner. A Chicago antifascist group identified Clarke IL as Logan Plank. A Hatewatch investigation corroborates Clarke IL as Plank’s alias, as well as his role in the property damage, using the leaked chats. The identity of Sam MN, another participant in the chat, remains unknown.
Hatewatch attempted to contact Wagner using a phone number listed to his name, but no one answered or responded to voicemail messages.
DMs show that Randolph IL planned routes, scouted locations, handled scheduling and recruited people to participate in the property damage. “Does Friday night or Saturday night work best for you regarding the stencil run I am planning? And by night I mean midnight,” he asked Clarke IL and Sam MN the evening of Dec. 15.
“Yea man whatever works I am available both nights,” Clarke IL responded. Sam MN also affirmed his availability.
After hearing back from them, Randolph IL messaged Wagner: “Saturday is probably best. I need to scout out the dorms to the south of the tunnel. That’s the best place to park if it isn’t riddled with cameras.”
On Dec. 16, Randolph IL messaged the local chapter leader of Patriot Front: “Planning on late Saturday night for stenciling. Most students will probably be gone for break.”
The next day, on Dec. 17, Randolph IL messaged Wagner to ask, “Do you want to sticker and scout out the tunnel tomorrow night?” Wagner responded, “Ya we can do that.”
At 1:20 a.m. on Dec. 19, a Twitter user shared video of the destroyed mural.
If Garland was indeed a participant in the mural destruction plot as the evidence suggests, this may not be the first time he has crossed state lines to engage in Patriot Front activism. In video footage of a hiking trip to Michigan taken in October 2021, a man appearing to be Garland is seen carrying a red bag and boxing gloves, as well as wearing camo winter gloves and a blue fleece with zippers down the arms.
Video footage from the trip also shows a man in a white mask wearing the same fleece tossing a Pride flag into a fire.
Randolph IL is part of a team that interviews potential Patriot Front recruits and corresponds directly with its local and national leadership. In the leaked chat, Randolph IL speaks openly about his extremist sympathies to Patriot Front leadership. In a chat with Carter MO, whom Hatewatch reporting has identified as Luke Paule, a “network director” for Patriot Front in the St. Louis metro region, he wrote, “I can finally be a national socialist.”
Network directors are primarily responsible for reaching activism quotas, as well as ensuring members attend meetings and achieve the group’s fitness standards.
Paule did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Leaked private communication shows that the two members exchanged several messages in the days leading up to the mural destruction in St. Louis. Carter MO asked for updates, provided tips and offered to provide paint. “Remember in the Planning ... have Sam load up his fire extinguisher with white paint,” Carter MO wrote.
As the pair planned best ways to destroy the mural, leaked chats reveal that Carter MO sent a message to another PF member stating that recently “tons of power has been handed off to @Randolph IL.” Part of the increase in power for Randolph IL appears to be related to the Chicago Patriot Front rally.
In a conversation about the upcoming rally in Chicago, Rousseau asks Carter MO to “delegate some scouting runs” to “Randy.” Randolph IL also appears in a document that includes a list of possible Patriot Front drivers, though it is unclear what event is being referenced.
‘Lie to secure yourself’
Carter MO also oversees the activities of Logan Plank, who goes by the name Clarke IL. Clarke IL appears to have joined Patriot Front after graduating high school in summer 2021. In private chats that took place immediately after a Patriot Front rally in Washington, D.C., in December 2021, Clarke IL wrote to Carter MO: “My dad asked me where I was going, I said no, and now he’s threatening to take the car I’ve been driving away.”
Carter MO responded: “You need to start making up better excuses than being disrespectful. Why don’t you just tell him something that’s belieable. Lie to secure yourself.”
Hatewatch found Plank’s resume that he sent to a private chatroom of Patriot Front members. Using information in Plank’s resume, Hatewatch found social media pages, as well as clips shared to YouTube, that were later published by a Chicago antifascist organization. Plank is the son of Jeremy Plank, who is on the city council of Wood River, Illinois. Calls to both Logan and Jeremy Plank were not returned by the time of publication.
Founded in the wake of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Patriot Front is a white nationalist organization operated by Thomas Rousseau, 23, of Haslet, Texas. Hatewatch identified 29 alleged acts of property damage Patriot Front shared to its propaganda channels in which Patriot Front members destroyed murals that celebrate Black life, LGBTQ solidarity, Mexican American history and Hmong culture. In addition, Patriot Front shared photographs of racist flyers posted on historically Black college campuses three times, including Howard University, Delaware State University and the University of District of Columbia.
According to document disclosures made by Unicorn Riot, members of Patriot Front need to get approval from Rousseau, the group’s leader, to carry out acts of vandalism.
Hatewatch attempted to contact Rousseau through Patriot Front’s website, but he did not respond.
Rousseau, who does not use an alias, regularly communicated with Randolph IL about recruits, but leaked chats do not show they communicated about the mural destruction in St. Louis. Instead that responsibility appears to have fallen on Carter MO, who forwarded Rousseau meeting notes to a group chat about the planned action.
Hatewatch attempted to reach prosecutors in St. Louis several times, but no one responded to requests for an interview.
“Things like billboards, big murals, stuff like that, you want to be careful you want to run it by me,” Rousseau said in a leaked phone call.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Logan Plank's first name in one instance. Jeremy Plank is Logan's father. We have also updated a caption to correct that the image of Sam MN came from Rose City Antifa, not Unicorn Riot.
Banner photo of cleaned John Lewis mural in St. Louis by Curran Neenan/Student Life