‘Pack Your Stuff and Get Out of My House,’ Says Patriot Front Member’s Mom
On Saturday, Idaho police arrested 31 people linked to the white nationalist Patriotic Front for allegedly conspiring to cause chaos at an annual LGBTQ+ pride event in Coeur d’Alene. Authorities said the suspects were armed with riot gear, shields and smoke grenades, along with documents that appeared to be an “operating plan”.
Now, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, the mother of one arrested is speaking out in the hope that her son will eventually sever ties with the extremists.
Karen Amsden, the mother of alleged Patriot Front member and Springville Utah resident Jared Michael Boyce, said Monday that her son has struggled to fill the “gap” in his life since since his father left the family many years ago and became gay. A licensed clinical social worker, Amsden said she went public in an attempt to undermine his standing in the group, because of her other attempts at persuading him to walk away from the party. has so far failed.
“I would love to do whatever I can to help him [as a Patriot Front member] so he can’t be a part of it,” she said. “And that they didn’t want him to be part of their group because his mother had loose lips and a big mouth and he would never leave anything out.”
“I can tell it’s him. It was a sick feeling.
Amsden said that after her son was released from prison, he told her he would continue to stand with the group, so she issued an ultimatum. “I said to him, ‘Well, then you can’t live here. You can choose between Patriot Front and your family. ‘ And he said, ‘Well, I can’t quit the Patriotic Front.’ I was like, ‘Well, then you just chose. So pack your things and get out of my house. ‘”
Boyce, 27, was among the men arrested after a resident reported a “small army” of masked men inside a U-Haul van, police said. . (Boyce, someone’s Twitter bio that he is “Alpha Chad”, “professional Antifa tea seller” and “Patriotic and goddamn”, formerly became a member of the Patriotic Front in 2020. His screen name, “@PedosnJooshang,” is a variation of “Pedos and the Hebrew Hang.”)
“The officers believe it is likely that these men’s intent was to incite physical confrontation and cause disorder,” state an incident report shared by the Coeur d’Alene Police Department with The Daily Beast. “The U-Haul van has been located and an investigation has been launched. A total of 31 subjects were contacted inside the truck. Based on the overall investigation, it was determined that the subjects were part of the ‘Patriotic Front’ and had conspired to use violence and/or threat of violence to disrupt public order. All 31 people were arrested for plotting to riot”.
The suspects, aged 20 to 40, arrived in Idaho from states including Utah, Texas, Washington, Alabama, Illinois and Missouri. Those facing charges also include Josiah Buster, 24, a former Army specialist who was arrested along with his brother Mishael, 22 (Heather J. Hagan, spokesman for the US Army. , told The Daily Beast that Buster was in the military from July 2016 to November 2020 and was never deployed.)
Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center report that about one-fifth of Patriotic Front candidates claim to be current or former members of the military. Those numbers come from leaked private chats of the hate group, which includes 87 membership applications.
“He was completely changed when he found this group.”
“Finally, while a lot of people say things online, only a few are willing to lower the bar to intimidate people who are peacefully celebrating Pride by marching around with shields. and draw public attention to their hatred,” SPLC investigator Michael Hayden told The Daily Beast. “We fully expect to see the same extremists reappear because they are the lifeline the movement needs — men with nothing but their bitter feelings of resentment.”
Another member of the Patriotic Front arrested on Saturday, Mitchell Frederick Wagner, has faced charges allegedly vandalizing a historic Black mural in St. Louis late last year. His attorney, Michael Kielty, told The Daily Beast on Monday, “While we may not agree with the speech, we have the right to free speech… We may not like it. , but they have the right to do that.”
Amsden said her son told her anonymous donors had bailed him and other suspects out of prison. When Boyce showed up on her doorstep on Sunday, Amsden said he told her, “Mom, don’t trust the media. We were there just because they were grooming the kids. “
Experts say groups like the Patriotic Front are particularly sinister in that they try to present themselves as nonviolent and all-popular Americans.
However, the Patriot Front “is a neo-Nazi group,” extremism researcher Jon Lewis told The Daily Beast. “They are not just white nationalists, they are not Western nationalists, they are not patriots. They are neo-Nazis.”
Lewis, a fellow on the George Washington University Extremism Program, said the Patriotic Front intentionally distorted its message to give the impression that they were, as their name indicates, “the Patriot”. Members handed out fliers and hung posters with American flags, bald eagles, etc., the message Lewis said “didn’t change the fact that at their core, when you look at what they say privately, it doesn’t change that. , they are neo-Nazis.”
Before going to Idaho, Boyce told his mother he was going camping for the weekend. Amsden, who was busy rehearsing for the local community play, said she had “no doubt” that anything had yet to happen until a news release about the hate group’s arrest. flashed on her phone. “And I saw this news story come out saying that 31 members of a white extremist group were arrested at a protest, and I just knew – I knew he was part of it.”
Amsden looked through photos of men in matching hats and white tank tops and believed she had spotted her son.
“I could tell it was him,” she said. “And I tried calling him on his phone and it went straight to voicemail and then I was able to go to the prison website and confirm that he was one of the people that was arrested. It’s a sick feeling.”
Amsden warned his son after his trips before the Patriot Front that he would be in trouble if he continued his association with the group.
“He was so misguided and bought into all their fallacies. It just makes me sick,” Amsden said, adding that she hoped his arrest was a “wake-up call” to quit smoking.
“This is not the person I raised,” she continued. “This is not the example set for him.”
Amsden says that since her teenage years, her son has been “looking for some kind of connection” and “brotherhood”.
He landed on the Patriotic Front years later.
Boyce was married and living with his then-wife and their children when he joined the white far-right group around 2018, according to Amsden. She said Boyce’s spouse told her he had found the organization online and that he “had to complete an application and deposit some money to join.”
Boyce started grappling with his own internal doubts when he was 14, but at that stage he resolved it peacefully, Amsden recalls. He has a tattoo of Buddha and talks about “don’t let anger rule you and love everyone,” she said.
“But he completely changed when he formed this group,” continued Amsden. “I understood for the first time how far he had come in rejecting the Holocaust — and one of my personal heroes is Anne Frank. And when he told me that, I thought he was joking. Like, how can you? I don’t even know what to say.”
Boyce and his ex-wife share custody of their child, who Amsden describes as “the light in my life”. Her grandchildren were “really the only reason” for her to continue her relationship with Boyce as his views became more and more hateful, Amsden said.
As Boyce became more and more entrenched in white nationalism, Amsden said she began researching the Patriotic Front for potential clues as to why her son was so enamored. Amsden considered calling the police to advise them of Boyce’s white nationalist leanings, but since he hadn’t committed a crime she wasn’t sure this was the right course of action. Her worries became acute when Boyce was arrested last weekend.
On Monday, Amsden was still trying to process the news as she prepared for Boyce to move out of her home. Boyce instructed her not to speak to the media or the FBI, a request she said she did not intend to abide by.
“He actually just showed up at my house,” Amsden said. “And that was the moment I was a bit scared because I hoped he would change his attitude. But he doesn’t. ”
However, Amsden “just really wanted to”[s] believes that people can change, and he will figure it out,” she said. “But my goodness, it took a long time.”