White supremacist and self-proclaimed Nazi Jeffrey Clark was arrested on gun charges only after his family basically told the FBI that he was planning to kill people.
Jeffrey Clark, the 30-year-old man federal agents arrested here Friday after he called the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting a “dry run” and his relatives worried he might try to launch a race war, wasn’t shy about being a neo-Nazi.
In April 2017, when someone asked Clark at a White House rally organized by “alt-right” coiner Richard Spencer whether he considered himself a fascist, he said no ― he considered himself a Nazi. Antifa activists photographed him at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. He has posed for pictures in front of Nazi symbols and holding Nazi memorabilia.
On Gab, the favored social network of racists and anti-Semites, Clark had the username @PureWhiteEvil and called himself “DC Bowl Gang,” a reference to Dylann Roof, the bowl-cut racist who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
Many alt-right white supremacists worship Roof, and Clark used an image of the killer and balaclava-clad gunmen as the header for his Gab page. His pinned image was an altered still from the video game “Doom” that depicted Roof executing black people in a church.
This April, Clark threatened a HuffPost reporter, warning that the reporter would be going “feet first into a woodchipper.” The reporter told police about the threat in August. They did nothing at the time. In late October, D.C. police did come to Clark’s house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood after the death by suicide of his brother, Edward, but did not arrest him.
Clark told family members he had been “friended” on Gab by Robert Bowers, the man charged with murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27. Clark, court documents said, told family members the victims “deserved it.” He wrote on Gab that the attack was a “dry run for things to come” and that “the fucking kikes that got shot by the hero #RobertBowers were all active supporters of pedophilia … and every last one of them deserved exactly what happened to them and so much worse,” according to court documents. Pedophilia-centric conspiracy theories are popular among members of the far-right; in 2016, a North Carolina man armed with a rifle drove to a Washington, D.C., pizza place he falsely believed was the center of a vast pedophilia ring. No one was injured in the shooting.
It wasn’t until November, after Clark’s own family contacted law enforcement, that the FBI finally found the allegedly illegal weapons that have him facing gun charges. Court documents, as well as photos and videos obtained by HuffPost, suggest Clark’s late brother, Edward Clark, shared a similar ideology. That both men were able to spew neo-Nazi rhetoric, amass an arsenal of weapons, and openly threaten journalists and critics for months without consequence shows just how much freedom far-right extremists have to operate in the U.S. — and how far their behavior has to escalate before law enforcement takes it seriously.
Despite months, if not years of active threats towards people in public and online, Clark was only arrested and his threat was only taken seriously when his family ratted out his illegal weapon collection. It had to get that far before Clark was considered a threat.
The fact that Clark could have easily used legal and obtainable weapons to slaughter dozens doesn't seem to have registered with anyone.
As with any terrorist, we should be asking where, who, and how behind Clark's radicalization, but of course the answer is America's law enforcement, America's military, and America's executive branch, and we can't take too close of a look at any of that.