WINCHESTER — Several stickers for a rebranded white nationalist group appeared last week on the Loudoun Street Mall. At least one was still there Monday.
The patriotic-looking stickers, which feature a red, white and blue shield with white stars, are from American Identity Movement — or AIM. The group was launched in March by Patrick Casey, a former leader of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
AIM posted photos on its Twitter account on July 7 showing at least four AIM stickers on light poles and a trash can on the downtown walking mall. On July 10, two of the stickers were spotted by a reporter on light poles on the mall’s southern end. One of those stickers was still there Monday.
AIM posted similar photos of its stickers in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., Denver, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Winchester Communications Director Amy Simmons said last week that a city official visited the mall on July 11 but didn’t see any AIM stickers. Police have received no reports about the stickers, but someone apparently found one of the stickers and handed it to a downtown officer recently, she said. Simmons had no further comment.
Identity Evropa was dissolved in March by Casey, according to the Anti-Defamation League. That same day, he announced the creation of AIM. All Identity Evropa members in good standing were invited to join AIM. Identity Evropa attended the lethal “Unite the Right” rally in downtown Charlottesville in August of 2017 that left one woman dead. Casey became Identity Evropa’s leader in November of 2017. Identity Evropa aligned itself with white supremacist Richard Spencer, who is known for seeking an all-white state through “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”
AIM says on its website that it is “opposed to the demonization of and discrimination against America’s white majority.” It also states that the group seeks to protect “America’s historical demographics” in lieu of mass immigration. It also denies any ties to supremacy, violence or illegal activities.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says the rebranding effort is a tactic to infiltrate mainstream politics with white supremacist views.
This is not the first time white supremacist propaganda has been distributed in Winchester. In October of 2017, stickers and flyers advertising Identity Evropa were found on Shenandoah University’s campus depicting Greek and Roman statues with phrases like “protect your heritage” and “serve your people.” In May of 2018, Ku Klux Klan flyers were spotted at businesses on Millwood Avenue and South Pleasant Valley Road and at Shenandoah University. KKK flyers also were distributed on several other occasions in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties in 2017 and 2018.
No one from AIM was able to be reached for comment.