FORT MILL — Several hours after issuing a “no comment” about a hate group message posted downtown, the Town of Fort Mill offered a statement condemning it.
“The Town does not, in any way, support groups that push hate messages,” Town Manager Davy Broom said in a statement emailed to the MillTown News Friday evening.
Earlier Friday, the MillTown news reported that someone vandalized a South Carolina Dept. of Transportation traffic signal box at the top of Main Street in downtown Fort Mill with a sticker advertising the known hate group called Patriot Front. A SCDOT official made aware of it said the sticker would be removed as soon as possible.
At 11:17 a.m. Friday, the MillTown News contacted the town to ask if it would take any action or wanted to comment on the sticker being posted in town limits. At 4:22 p.m., town spokesman Chris Sardelli sent an email saying the town declined to comment and, despite earlier being told SCDOT was already contacted, referred us to SCDOT. At 7:36 p.m., after our initial story was posted, an email was received from Broom saying the town disavowed the group.
“The sticker has since been removed. I’ve verified this myself a short while ago,” Broom wrote. He said he checked the box at 7:30 p.m. Friday to make sure the sticker was gone. Broom condemned the sticker and its message and apologized for not responding sooner.
At 9:14 p.m., Milltown News received a press release by email from Sardelli reiterating the statement Broom sent earlier and adding that “a sticker associated with a known hate group was found on a Main Street utility box and was promptly removed by crews from the S.C. Department of Transportation. Fort Mill Town Manager Davy Broom was made aware of the sticker on Friday, Sept. 20, which had been placed on a S.C. DOT transportation control panel at the top of Main Street, near the intersection with Tom Hall and Clebourne streets. It is not known how long the sticker had been on the box.”
The sticker promotes a group called the Patriot Front. The group’s website includes a manifesto that says only white people of European descent who were born in the United States should be considered Americans. It also rails against Israel as an enemy of the U.S. and suggests violence as a solution to its various grievances.
The Southern Poverty Law Center considers Patriot Front a “White nationalist hate group.“