Debris left near following a driver plowing into the Christmas parade on Main Street in downtown November 22, 2021 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jim Vondruska / Getty Images)
Only a day after a man drove his SUV into a Christmas parade in a suburb of Milwaukee, killing five people and injuring 48, right-wing extremists are using the incident as propaganda, spinning it as a calculated terrorist attack perpetrated by a left-wing radical.Without knowing the motives of the driver, a Wisconsin man named Darrell E. Brooks Jr. with a history of domestic violence and a recent arrest for vehicular assault, far-right Telegram channels are full of terror allegations—despite categorical police statements rejecting that terrorism had anything to do with the tragic events.
For example, one post by a neo-Nazi prepper account called out mainstream media for some sort of coordinated cover-up, describing the incident as “blatant anti-white terror attack.” However, while police in Waukesha alleged the attack on the parade was intentional, they say that Brooks had just left the scene of a domestic disturbance and was not acting upon any terrorist influence or organization, but was in some sort of disturbed haze.That didn’t stop an ex-Marine and minor Telegram celebrity with thousands of followers from printing posters with a swastika and the slogan “we will not forget Waukesha” and offering them to followers for distribution across the country. (Terrorism watchdog, SITE Intel, reported a similar postering campaign.)Another popular Telegram account known for providing cybersecurity tips to neo-Nazis trying to shield their identity from authorities put a post out viewed over 8,000 times saying Brooks’ actions Sunday were connected to the recent acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse.Other posts directly called for retribution, asking followers to avenge the incident that is being portrayed as some sort of coordinated terror attack in the vein of ISIS.One account that has a significant following among the most hardcore neo-Nazis is characterizing the “attack” as a perfect rallying call and a continued sign of violent political chaos in the U.S. and hoped it would help hasten the collapse of U.S. society. Brooks Jr. is due in court Tuesday, and expected to face five intentional homicide charges, among other charges. Right-wing politicians and media personalities have been aggressively going after prosecutors because Brooks Jr. was on bail at the time of the incident.