Experts warn right-wing militias still active in Nevada

Experts warn right-wing militias still active in Nevada
Three Percenters stationed themselves outside the Pioneer Center in downtown Reno during a peaceful Black Lives Matter vigil June 7, 2020. Image: Isaac Hoops / This Is Reno

By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.

RENO–One year after the Jan. 6 insurrection, experts say groups present at the Capitol riot are expanding in the Silver State.

A 2020 report from Indivisible and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada outlined the local activities of groups such as the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and the Boogaloo Bois.

Anthony Shafton, a member of Indivisible Northern Nevada and co-author of a white paper on unlawful militias, warned the rise of extremism poses a danger to the country.

“Beware. American democracy is on a slippery slope,” Shafton stated. “These armed militias are symptoms of the decay of respect for democratic values in this country that looks to be very dangerous for our future.”

Today, pro-democracy groups are rallying to expand voting rights in Reno and Las Vegas. The Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map is currently tracking 12 extremist groups in Nevada, up from eight in 2000.

A member of a team trained to de-escalate conflicts at demonstrations, at a Black Lives Matter peace vigil June 7, 2020 in Reno, Nev. Image: Isaac Hoops / This Is Reno

Shafton leads a marshal team trained to de-escalate conflicts at progressive public events. He was troubled by militia presence at an anti-mask rally in Reno a few months ago featuring Joey Gilbert, who is running for governor in the Republican primary.

“To be in a public place in the center of Reno flanked by armed militia types is alarming,” Shafton asserted. “You know, this isn’t quite yet 1930s Germany, but it’s looking like that.”

In May 2020, authorities charged three members of a “boogaloo” group in Las Vegas with possession of a Molotov cocktail, alleging the group planned to disrupt protests taking place after the death of George Floyd.

Editor’s Note: Joey Gilbert was present at the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection event.