2 members of Patriot Front charged with defacing ‘Respect & Love Olympia’ mural

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Two members of Patriot Front have been charged in connection with vandalizing a rainbow mural and community statement against hate, known as the “Respect & Love Olympia” mural.

The mural, which fronted the former Griswold’s building on Fourth Avenue in downtown Olympia, was vandalized on Oct. 16, 2021.

Colton M. Brown and Spencer Simpson have been charged with the misdemeanor crime of aiding and abetting graffiti. Neither of the men is from Olympia.

“The two men are known members of the Patriot Front, which has been recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist hate group,” a news release from the Olympia Police Department said.

Olympia police said they used community information, as well as open-source social media and websites to help identify those who were involved in the vandalism, leading to the charges against the two men.

Police continue to work on identifying others involved in the vandalism.

After it was vandalized, community members quickly repainted the mural.

Soon after, the mural was removed and stored to protect it, and ahead of preparation for the building to be demolished.