VIRGINIA BEACH — Stickers for a white nationalist group have been placed in public spaces around the Oceanfront exactly two years after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
An American Identity Movement sticker was spotted by residents on 31st and Pacific Avenue Tuesday but the group posted photos to their social media, identifying at least three more on the Oceanfront and boardwalk Sunday.
Councilman Michael Berlucchi got wind of the stickers and said “it’s deeply disturbing” to know the group who is credited with organizing the rally in Charlottesville is here promoting themselves or recruiting in the city.”
“I regard it as a very serious public safety issue because these individuals are responsible for an event that lead to conflict, injury, and loss of life,” he said.
Patrick Casey founded American Identity Movement after his previous group, Identity Evropa, received negative public attention and a lawsuit for their role in “Unite the Right,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“For a group that has always paid scrupulous attention to branding, the move seems designed to distance Casey and his followers from the public-relations baggage that has burdened IE since the 2017 rally,” according to the center.
The list of priorities on the group’s website includes nationalism, identitarianism, non-interventionism, protectionism, and populism.
“We staunchly defend the preservation of America’s historical demographics in the face of mass immigration and are opposed to the demonization of and discrimination against America’s white majority,” the site reads.
Julie Hill, a spokeswoman for the city, said inspectors were dispatched early Wednesday to remove the stickers.
In a release posted to social media, Berlucchi said he’s made contact with the FBI and Virginia Beach Police and is “confident they will address the matter with the seriousness it merits.”
The councilman also noted he’s lived in Virginia Beach his entire life and said the residents should “stand together” against this group’s ideals of “discrimination and discord.”
“We don’t want it and we don’t need it,” he said. “Hate has no place in Virginia Beach and this type of fear-mongering and false division does not reflect who we are.”