The far-right Proud Boys and other right-wing militia groups plan to hold a “Kyle Rittenhouse Appreciation” event at Washington Square in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday from noon until 2 p.m.
The event is billed as a sort of heavily armed potluck. Expect lots of guns, along with hot chocolate, apple cider, desserts, flags, “Let’s Go Brandon” signs, and probably lots more guns.
Rittenhouse was charged with several felonies for killing two men and wounding a third with a semi-automatic rifle in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2020. Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges last month.
Rittenhouse says he traveled to Kenosha to protect property from rioters following the shooting of a Black man by a white police officer. He claimed he came under attack by rioters and shot them in self-defense.
In addition to showing support for Rittenhouse, the “Attend and Defend” rally will celebrate the Second Amendment and the right to “defend your cities.”
The Proud Boys are classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Members of the organization were involved in the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C. Their national leader, Enrique Tarrio, has been subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the attack.
In July, the local Proud Boys chapter protested opposite Black Lives Matter during a Granite School Board meeting discussing the teaching of critical race theory.
A post promoting the event on the Utah Patriots website urges people to “bring your favorite dessert to share” but asks attendees to leave the body armor at home. The rally will also be a canned food drive for Calvary Chapel.
The Utah Patriots Facebook page was flooded with memes celebrating Rittenhouse following his acquittal.
Also involved is United Citizens Alarm, another extreme-right militia group founded in 2020 in opposition to racial justice protests.
In October, Utah Patriots and United Citizens Alarm provided security for the conspiracy-driven conference in Salt Lake City that featured right-wing celebrities like Gen. Michael Flynn.