He’s known as “AFO #258” on the FBI’s most wanted list, signifying that he’s one of the individuals sought by the agency for involvement “in violent assaults on federal law enforcement officers at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
The volunteer online sleuths who have been poring through open-source video and matching images to social media profiles for the past 11 months have a catchier name for Lucas Denney. They call him #PoleTosser, a nicknamed earned when Denney launched a giant wooden pole toward a line of police officers in the midst of a pitched battle on the West Plaza as rioters lobbed projectiles and the two sides exchanged blasts of chemical spray.
Despite being wanted by the FBI, Denney has maintained a relatively high profile, showing up at public events such as rallies against COVID restrictions as president of the Patriot Boys paramilitary group and posing alongside Republican politicians ranging from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.
Denney, an Army veteran who lives in suburbs south of Fort Worth, also hasn’t been shy about taunting the FBI, or continuing to agitate for insurrection.
“Big shoutout to the FBI because you’re all f*cking traitors. FBI, you’re on the wrong f*cking side,” he said in an Aug. 26 TikTok video. Denney concluded by saying, “I’m calling for a military coup. Marine Corps, you lost five guys today — so far. Go ahead and do a military coup and get this mother***er out of office, these communists out of office, and you need to get Trump back in there to fix this shit.” He warned that if the military fails to remove President Biden from office, the United States will face “World War III and a civil war all at once.”
Another video posted on Denney’s TikTok page on Oct. 19 includes appropriated footage from a Revolutionary War documentary accompanied by the text, “I remember another time when Patriots were called domestic terrorist [sic] fighting their communist government.” During a scene showing British army soldiers on the march the letters “F-B-I” flash across the screen.
Dressed in tactical gear and a batting helmet, Denney wore a Three Percenter patch representative of the antigovernment movement that views itself as the heirs of the American revolutionaries during a skirmish on the west plaza at the US Capitol, where he hurled the wooden pole at police officers on Jan. 6. Video from multiple sources at the scene also shows Denney lunging at the police and yanking a metal barricade. At other points during the day, Denney traded out his batting helmet for a black hat with a Three Percenter logo.
Eventually, Denney made his way to the Lower West Terrace, and into the tunnel, where Metropolitan police officers fended off a mob intent on surging into the Capitol building. Denney was at the scene near the mouth of the tunnel when rioters pulled Officer Michael Fanone into the crowd. The video shows Denney in close proximity to Fanone during the assault, but it is difficult to tell whether he is participating in the assault or attempting to assist the officer.
A person reached at a phone number associated with Lucas Denney denied being at the US Capitol on Jan. 6. The person did not confirm their identity or respond to further attempts to seek comment.
A spokesperson for the FBI told Raw Story the agency does not confirm or deny the existence of an ongoing investigation.
Denney attracted attention in the online sleuths when he appeared in a video interview during an Oct. 11 “Texas Loves Ashli Babbitt” rally while wearing a black hat with a Three Percenter logo identical to the one he was wearing at the Capitol on Jan. 6. An Air Force veteran, Babbitt has become a martyr of the insurrectionary right after she was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer while attempting to crawl through a window to the Speaker’s Lobby in the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
Eric Braden, who says he is running for Governor of Texas, spoke at the Ashli Babbitt event today. Before he spoke, he said he was there to ask the Babbitt family \u201cto move to Texas. so that when we secede, they can become citizens of the country of Texas.\u201d From @ScooterCasterNYpic.twitter.com/STIq5OhPIM— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1633921925
The online sleuths also took note of a selfie Denney took with Cruz after an Aug. 18 townhall in Grapevine, Texas. Denney was wearing apparel that identified him as “president” of the “Patriot Boys” at both the Ashli Babbitt event and Ted Cruz townhall.
The Patriot Boys website describes the group as a “political club” comprised of “3%ers” who are committed to campaigning for “true conservative Republicans.” The group publicly opposes “antifa” and Black Lives Matter, while describing itself as vanguard against “tyranny.”
As president of Patriot Boys, Denney has maintained a high profile since Jan. 6, appearing with fellow members in matching Army green T-shirts at a pro-Israel rally in Fort Worth in April; addressing a rally against COVID restrictions, also in Fort Worth, in July; and speaking out in support of Jan. 6 defendants at a rally in San Antonio in September. In addition to Cruz and Cawthorn, Denney has also shared photos of himself posing with former Texas Republican Party Chairman, Allen West and former pro wrestler and former Texas congressional candidate Dan Rodimer.
Since late August, Denney has been making TikTok videos that feature incendiary rhetoric promoting war against the federal government and serenity in the face of death, while calling on law enforcement to disobey orders. Some appear to openly taunt the FBI.
One video sets a slideshow of photos of Patriots Boys members at various events to the reggae song “Bad Boys,” with the familiar refrain, “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
TikTok video posted by Lucas Denney youtu.be
Many of the videos explicitly call for war against fellow Americans.
One shows lightning flashing around the US Capitol, accompanied by the words, “WAR… IS… COMING,” and, “Patriots are here…. Hear our footsteps?... We’re watching you.”
Another video shows a glitchy image of Denney staring into the camera, accompanied by an audio recording of a rage-filled man saying, “You know, the crazy shit is it’s a lot of f*cking people they f*cking act like this f*cking country right here isn’t full of a bunch of f*cking veterans that are capable of still f*cking getting it on. Why the f*ck do you all think that we will just sit and do f*cking nothing? Why!?”
Since late October, Denney’s TikTok page has been set to private.
Members of the Patriot Boys organize on the social media app Telegram. Denney is the owner of Patriot Boys Support Page channel, a public forum with almost 100 members. Discussion on the channel often centers on themes of vigilantism and paranoia directed at Muslims and immigrants. Alongside agitation against perceived enemies, the channel also shows members actively working to build relationships with veteran service organizations and with the COVID denialist movement. In early October, Patriot Boys held a benefit to raise money for a VFW post in Fort Worth. The following weekend, a member of the channel who identified himself as the post’s quartermaster put out a request for volunteers for a cornhole tournament.
Up until mid-November, Eric Braden, a Three Percenter militia leader who was arrested last December at a mall in San Antonio while protesting mask guidelines at a mall in San Antonio, was an active participant in the Patriot Boys Telegram channel. Braden led a group of men with rifles under the banner of his own group, Southern Patriot Council, during a #StopTheSteal rally in Atlanta in December 2020, in the runup to the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. Braden’s group teamed up with the Georgia III% Security Force, led by Chris Hill, for the Atlanta #StopTheSteal rally. Recently Braden has said that he is running for governor of Texas, while pledging that when he takes office the state will become an independent republic.
Talk on the Patriot Boys channel often focuses on perceived threats by racial and religious minorities.
Following a shooting at Timberview High School in Arlington that left four people injured in early October, Patriot Boys members started talking on Telegram.
Braden shared a photo of the suspect, an 18-year-old Black male, on Telegram, writing, “We’re hunting him now.” Then, underscoring his seriousness, Braden recorded a voice chat. “I’m willing to wager a little bit of money that he ended up heading towards Fort Worth, guys,” he said, naming particular neighborhoods where he speculated that the suspect would have family members.
The talk soon turned to Patriot Boys’ negative perception of the area around Timberview High School, along with the nearby town of Mansfield, where Denney lived.
“Mansfield itself is becoming a ghetto because of the greedy ass local politicians here,” Denney opined.
Braden then interjected an Islamophobic element into the discussion.
“Mansfield is a dump,” he said. “Lots of jihadi in Mansfield.”
“Lots yes,” Denney agreed.
“Arlington has apartment complexes in the hood filled with fighting middle eastern men,” Braden added. Then he promised: “Get me in the governor’s seat and all of them go. Elect another politician and watch them grow.”
Only a couple days after Braden’s promise to purge Muslims from Texas, a discussion about migrants from Latin America seeking to escape poverty elicited a comment from another member who appeared to relish the prospect of violence.
Denney shared a link to a story from The Western Journal with the inflammatory headline “‘We Are Ready for War’: Leader of Migrant Caravan Says Nothing Will Get in his Way of Making it to US.” The quote that formed the basis of the headline came from Irineo Mujica, director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras: “We prefer to march with [travel] papers…. At this time, with or without papers we are ready for war…. If the National Guard comes and they are cowardly enough to beat women and children, let them prepare because God’s hand is with us.”
A Patriot Boys member with the username Cpl. Cyrus responded: “The border is going to turn into a shooting gallery and it’ll be all over with. Then the civil war can begin.”
In early October, Braden mentioned on the channel that he had spoken to a local official on the US-Mexican border in south Texas, and a plan quickly came together.
“We are leaving Wednesday and we’ll keep everybody updated on this page,” Denney wrote in the early-morning hours of Oct. 18, posting a link to his Cash App account. “If you can donate to help us with gas, food, toiletries ect [sic] we need it. It’s a long trip for the different chapters that are going and we could be there for a month or more rotating.”
Six days later, Denney posted in the channel: “So who’s going to the border on Monday with us?”
It remains unclear whether Denney or other Patriot Boys members followed through on the plan.