Fargo coffee shop hit by white nationalist vandalism
The FBI has been notified after a Patriot Front sticker and other vandalism was discovered on The Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo.
FARGO — The Red Raven Espresso Parlor was recently vandalized with white nationalist graffiti and stickers, and some owners plan to report the incident as a hate crime to the FBI.
The Red Raven has been a coffee shop, restaurant and artist gallery for the past 17 years, and on June 17 announced it had 30 days to move out of the premises because the building, a former firehouse, had been rented to a different tenant.
Following that announcement, employees discovered stickers and graffiti spray-painted onto the brick building last week.
One sticker carried the name of the group Patriot Front that showed a picture of the continental U.S. and said: “Not stolen, conquered,” a comment presumably referring to wars the U.S. government fought against Native Americans. The same message was spray-painted onto a garage, with two other spray-painted cutouts, one saying “America is not for sale.”
The Patriot Front is reportedly a white nationalist hate group that formed after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights nonprofit that tracks hate groups.
The Red Raven is an arts collective that's employee-owned, exclusively by LGBTQ+ and minority individuals, according to the Red Raven's Facebook page. “The opposition this state has towards certain people's existence means spaces like ours must exist. We are (a) refuge for the creative, those in need of community, and the unsupported,” the Red Raven said on Facebook.
No police report was filed, but some owners of the establishment intend to report the vandalism to the FBI as a hate crime, one of the owners told The Forum.
The Fargo Police Department said they had not received any complaints of vandalism from the Red Raven in recent weeks. Attempts to contact an owner of the building were unsuccessful.
Victor Heitkamp, operations manager for the Downtown Fargo Business Improvement District, or BID, said vandalism such as putting up stickers occurs often in downtown Fargo. Last week, he said, employees took down more than 250 political stickers, many of which were directed at Mayor Tim Mahoney.