With the Oregon standoff’s leaders either dead or in custody, a Georgia man has emerged overnight as the new leader of the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
If federal law enforcement had hoped taking out the standoff’s leaders while they were away from the refuge would decapitate the movement, the emergence of Jason Patrick as the new leader may not be welcome news. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s Mark Pitcavage, Patrick–a sympathizer with the Three Percenter movement– has a history of right-wing extremism.
The Three Percenter movement was born in 2008 and references a questionable stat that just three percent of Americans were active in the Revolutionary War. They aspire to be the modern-day equivalent.
Like many of the men who have been holed up at the Oregon refuge for more than three weeks, Patrick was involved in the 2014 Cliven Bundy ranch standoff against the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. Pitcavage also says that Patrick gained some attention in Georgia for attempts to smuggle video recorders into courtrooms.
According to an ADL report, Patrick has characterized his interactions with government officials as “having been caged multiple times for failing to exhibit an appropriate amount of fear when facing a terrorist.” TPM could not immediately find any records of Patrick being arrested.
While it is always difficult to predict whether a rising leader in the extremist movements will have what it takes to command respect and rally support, Patrick has been at the refuge since the beginning of the movement. Pitcavage says that the ADL tracked him as far back as November on social media claiming he was planning to go out to Harney County, Oregon, where the refuge is located.
The ADL also tracked Patrick’s travels to Seattle in December where he joined in a demonstration against the arrest of fellow anti-government sympathizer Schuyler Barbeau. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Barbeau had been arrested on felony weapons charges for “illegal possession of an AR-15 semi-automatic 5.56mm caliber assault rifle with a 10.5-inch barrel and a sight.” He had allegedly made threats–including lynching–against local government officials who he believed were not abiding by the Constitution, according to court documents reviewed by SPLC.
One of the key things to watch is whether the arrest of the occupation’s original leaders will take the steam out of the standoff. According to a report from NPR, FBI law enforcement have said that now is the time to leave the refuge peacefully. Patrick has not shown signs of packing up.
Since Ammon Bundy and others were arrested and LaVoy Finicum was killed, Patrick has been posting regular videos from the refuge on his Bambuser account including making multiple calls for law enforcement to immediately release video footage of the traffic stop that led to Finicum’s death.