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Potential white-supremacist graffiti found along Harford walking trail; police investigating

Graffiti possibly promoting a white-supremacist group has appeared on structures along the Tollgate Road section of Harford County’s Ma and Pa trail, according to photos posted to social media and the county’s sheriff’s office.

Sprayed on concrete pillars along the trail are “PF” and “Zone." Two more tags, appearing in a corrugated-metal tunnel, further clarified it as a “Patriot Front Zone.” The Harford County Sheriff’s department is investigating the incident.

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Patriot Front is a nationalistic, white supremacist group believing lineage to be the most important aspect of being an American. Illustrating that belief is their notion that people born outside of the U.S. cannot be considered American, according to the manifesto posted to the group’s web-page. The organization is also notably anti-Semitic.

The group posts frequently on Gab, an alternate site to Twitter. As recently as Sunday, the group posted pictures of its stickers posted in public places in other parts Maryland.

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According to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish non-governmental organization, the precursor organization to Patriot Front participated at 2017′s infamous Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, where a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr. plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring dozens. Patriot Front took shape after the rally.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has also classified the organization as a hate-group.

Spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Cristie Hopkins said the office first became aware of the graffiti on June 13 around 8:30 p.m. The graffiti’s origin remains under investigation, she said, and police do not have any suspects. But, Hopkins said, the tagging “would be considered Malicious Description of Property."

“We do not track Patriot Front as they are not classified as a hate group defined by the FBI. That being said, we are aware of recent sightings of Patriot Front stickers being placed in the area of some of the recent demonstrations,” Hopkins wrote in an email. “While we are aware of some presence of hate group members in the county, they are isolated without large footprints.”

The tagging on the Ma and Pa trail drew condemnation online after a passerby posted images of it to Facebook. Comments on the pictures ranged from profane to simple.

Harford County councilman Andre Johnson shared the image on Facebook with the message “FYI - We will not be intimidated nor deterred. United we stand!!” Johnson represents Edgewood, Joppatowne and a part of Abingdon.

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