While far-right activist Joey Gibson promised that his group Patriot Prayer was going to take back Longview, Washington, on June 9, less than two dozen people arrived for his “blue line” march in memory of Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier who was shot and killed on a call on April 13. Gibson has been known for exploiting regional stories like these as an avenue to gain publicity and insert his organization’s relevance into a community, and he has never shied away from jumping on these incidents when a community is still in mourning. In a mostly silent two-mile hike, they waved American and “blue line” flags as cars drove by and largely ignored their presence.
While Gibson has presented himself as simply an engaged conservative, anti-fascist organizers have said since the beginning that Patriot Prayer has been a mainstreaming tool for white nationalists and has become known for violent harassment.
Yet Gibson’s political roadshow, meant to draw out “patriots” in liberal cities around the country, progressively lost steam this spring. While he was once able to draw out hundreds (which were still overwhelmed by thousands of counter-protesters), Patriot Prayer’s attraction has waned after dozens of public fights, the arrest of prominent members, and the increasingly violent attacks on the left and members of the community.