Boise officials scramble to repair damage caused by White Nationalist police captain’s revelation

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Boise cop Matthew Bryngleson was exposed by researcher Molly Conger this weekend in a thread that detailed the true identity of the officer leading up to the annual AR rally in Burns, Tennessee. Using the pseudonym Daniel Vinyard (taken from a racist skinhead in the film American history x), Bryngleson was a scheduled speaker described as “a retired, down-to-earth police officer”. The title of his speech: “Police Libel and What It Means for America.”

AR is one of the oldest white nationalist operations, founded in the 1990s by Jared Taylor, which specializes in the academic plating of old-fashioned racial bigotry, particularly of the eugenics variety. One of Taylor’s most enduring propaganda campaigns involves blaming black people for crime in America; among those influenced by his fallacious slanders was the mass murderer Dylann Roof.

This was the topic when Bryngleson and Taylor engaged in an interview which was posted on the AR website in September. Bryngelson told Taylor stories of his career and his interactions with black people, whom he described as criminals whose “sane human mind cannot even comprehend…let alone execute.” At one point, Bryngelson used a transphobic slur to describe someone.

Taylor asked Bryngleson to describe his experience as a police officer dealing with non-whites, and he replied:

Whatever the worst crime of the day, it’s usually a black or non-white person. Sure, white people do drunk driving, they do domestic violence, they steal, but when it’s something where you pause and say, “Fuck, I can’t believe this happened in this town”, it’s almost always someone who’s not from there, and it’s a black person, almost always without fault.

It’s a scenario. It happens every time, no matter what. You can catch them finishing beating someone and during the ensuing resistance to arrest, the fight, we are called racists. We can catch them in the act and the mere fact that we catch them is racist. It’s 100% of the time we’re accused of being racist. Especially in this town, obviously there are so few black people there, but when we meet them, of course, they will be white officers because that is mostly what we have, and when they are arrested, they will shout racism every single time.

Under his pseudonym, Bryngleson has also written a few articles for the AR website. One of them describes how he reached a point in his policing career when he “became aware of the violent tendencies of black people”. Another one recounted “microaggressions” by non-white, liberal members of the Boise City Council.

He described growing up in Southern California before moving to a predominantly white northwestern town 22 years prior – in fact, after the plan of several other right-wing officers who moved to Idaho during the same period and became a major part of the state’s far-right radicalization.

‘I chose the location because it was predominantly white,’ he wrote, adding that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of officers who moved out ‘came to escape black violence and raise their children. in an area where they will not be subjected to “diversity” in schools and violence in their neighborhoods.

Bryngleson had sworn as a captain in April 2021 and has been an officer in the force for nearly 24 years. He was one of several officers who filed allegations against former Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee, an Asian American who was recently forced to resign amid allegations of abusive behavior.

Bryngleson also hosted a weekly heavy metal show on the community FM station, Radio Boise 89.9, early Sunday mornings from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. from 2013 to 2018. He candidly talked about working as a cop during the show’s banter.

Mayor Lauren McLean immediately launched an investigation in Bryngleson’s history with the department and whether his opinions affected the cases he handled, and in particular any convictions for which he may have been responsible, as well as the extent of his malign influence within the department and whether his culture knowingly tolerated it.

“Now is not the time to consider circling the wagons and I will not tolerate anyone who tries to hinder this investigation in any way,” reads McLean’s statement, and adds a warning to the serving officers:

And for those in the BPD: if you cannot or will not cooperate fully and honestly, I suggest that now is the time to leave this department. And honestly, the profession. The people of Boise rely on you to protect and serve them. The people of Boise deserve better. Everyone must trust that they will be treated fairly. We cannot expect anyone to believe that someone who perpetuates such blatant racism, while serving as an officer, would be able to treat those he so deeply insults fairly. In the way that members of our community – any community – deserve and expect.

Other Law Enforcement Officials also convicted Bryngelson, including former Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, the Fraternal Order of Police of Treasure Valley (FOP), and the Boise Police Union.

“Bryngelson’s thoughts, beliefs and actions are unbecoming of a law enforcement officer of any rank and they are devastating to our members and our community relationships,” the FOP statement said.

In addition to reviewing Bryngleson’s cases, Ada County officials will also need to take a closer look at the circumstances of Lee’s ouster. As the Idaho Statesman editorial board says: “[N]Now, because of what we know of Bryngelson’s deplorable views on people who aren’t white, we can’t help but wonder if the complaints against Lee were tainted with racial bias.

The deeper issue, however, is that these revelations keep happening, and they will keep happening. It’s because it’s a systemic problem with police culture and training, and it’s a problem within every law enforcement agency in the country. Responding to one scandal here and another there won’t explain how deeply entrenched this is in law enforcement nationwide, and how far-reaching its ramifications both for how how policing is done in America and how it affects his relationship with an increasingly angry public.

A powerful indicator of the depth of infection in law enforcement culture is how the police reacted to efforts in Minnesota — where the 2020 cop killing of a black Minneapolis man sparked months of nationwide protests — to ban police officers from being involved with hate, extremist or white supremacist groups. Police groups have spoken out against such bans, they say, because the wording is too vague and they could infringe on people’s First Amendment rights.

Fridley Police Chief Brian Weierke, president of the Minnesota Association of Chiefs of Police, said the rule prohibiting candidates or officers from participating in or supporting white supremacist, hateful or extremist groups needs to be more clearly defined so that the rule is not “armed”.

Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud said the new rules would hurt recruiting efforts, even though law enforcement nationwide has struggled to recruit and retain officers over the past two years due to “protests”, the pandemic and “political rhetoric calling for defunding the police”.

Until the nation’s civil authorities — from mayors and governors to senators and presidents — made it a top priority to weed out bigoted extremists from our law enforcement ranks, Police Captain Matt Brynglesons will continue to occur. And George Floyds too.

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