By Devon M. Sayers, CNN
A new Anti-Defamation League report has found an “extensive” network of White supremacists and other far-right extremists in Florida, which the organization says is home to the most people charged in the January 6 insurrection.
“Florida is home to an extensive, interconnected network of white supremacists and other far-right extremists,” the Anti-Defamation League says in the report, warning that new groups have surfaced in the state in recent years while existing groups “have broadened their audience both online and on the ground.”
The anti-hate group’s findings are documented in a new report titled “Hate in the Sunshine State: Extremism & Antisemitism in Florida, 2020-2022.”
Citing data from the George Washington University Program on Extremism, the report says Florida is home to the most people charged in connection with the January 6 insurrection.
About 34.4% of those individuals “maintain ties to extremists in the state including Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters,” data from the ADL’s Center on Extremism shows.
The state has been a “major hub of Proud Boy activity and influence” since Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, founded the Miami chapter, the report says.
The Justice Department has charged Tarrio and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6, 2021, attack in June, and all four have pleaded not guilty, CNN previously reported.
Florida has 15 chapters of the Proud Boys that are “actively recruiting new members,” according to the report.
The report says a recent leak of membership data shows some 2,700 people have signed up with Oath Keepers using addresses in Florida. While that doesn’t “necessarily indicate present Florida membership or activity in the group” its recruitment efforts in the state are “still troubling,” ADL says.
An Oath Keepers cell from Florida used a military-style “stack” formation to enter the Capitol on January 6, according to the league. CNN in July reported that members held a training session on “unconventional warfare.”
At least seven members from Florida have been charged in connection to events that day.
Florida has also “become a hotbed for ‘America First’ and Groyper activity in recent years,” the report says.
These groups, many of whose leaders and members have recently relocated to Florida, seek to bar immigrants, oppose rights for LGBTQ+ people and “preserve white, European-American identity and culture,” according to the report.
The report also highlights an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents and hate crimes in the state over the past two years, noting that the number of reported incidents of antisemitism rose by 50% in 2021 over 2020.
The ADL’s Center on Extremism also recorded the distribution of more than “400 instances of white supremacist propaganda” in the state from January 2020 to August 2022.
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