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Gallego’s office asks Capitol Police to investigate extremist group

By: - January 31, 2019 2:35 pm

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego speaking with supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in October 2016. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Staffers of U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego have asked the U.S. Capitol Police to investigate the extremist group Patriot Movement AZ after its leaders posted photos, video and information about security measures of the congressman’s house, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog reported today.

The leaders posted the information in a series of Twitter and Facebook posts Jan. 29 and 30, many of which have since been deleted.

SPLC reporter Nick Martin (a one-time scribe for the East Valley Tribune) wrote that one of the group’s leaders, Jennifer Harrison, began posting satellite images of what she said was Gallego’s Phoenix house, including street names and notes about where walls and gates were located. The next night, she was posting more images (likely from Google Street View) of the side of the house, “crudely annotated with markings showing his walls and the gated entrance to his street.”

More from Martin:

The posts also contained angry messages about Gallego’s stance on the border.

“I find it hypocritical that pompous politicians like @RepRubenGallego claim that walls are immoral & bigoted while living behind walls and gates!” Harrison wrote in one of her tweets. “Hey Ruben, why do you get the right to decide who enters your property but we dont (sic) have the right to decide who enters our country?”

By Wednesday afternoon, Harrison and her group had taken things a step further.

Harrison, along with Antone and fellow group leader Rich Osiol, showed up outside Gallego’s home and began livestreaming video to Facebook. The group mocked Gallego for living in a gated community and posted signs, including one that read “Ruben Gallego’s Walls of Immorality,” on the gate outside.

“Ruben is a traitor to this country,” Antone said near the end of the video. “Ruben is a traitor to the American people. Ruben is a traitor to the people that elected him to office.”

Antone and Harrison often show up to events with handguns holstered to their hips, but it was unclear if they were armed during Wednesday’s protest.

Gallego’s spokeswoman, Christina Carr, confirmed to Hatewatch that the office reported the posts yesterday and asked Capitol Police, which is tasked with protecting members of Congress, to investigate the group’s activities as a security threat.

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.