Detectives are investigating a possible connect between Cruz and a small, Florida-based white supremacist group called the Republic of Florida, which seeks to create a “white ethnostate” in Florida. But the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that monitors hate groups, has backed away from its initial report that Cruz had been involved with that group.
The Republic of Florida Militia, a white nationalist hate group we have been monitoring, has claimed the suspect in the massacre in Parkland, Florida, is a member.
We cannot confirm the link between Nikolas Cruz and the ROF.https://t.co/c5gj5qmcL1
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) February 15, 2018
The league put out a statement saying that a representative of the group, who had earlier claimed Cruz was involved, now says he had been “misunderstood.”
Detectives are investigating Cruz’s possible white supremacist connections, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference late Thursday afternoon.
“It’s not confirmed at this time,” he said. “We’ve heard that. We’re looking into that.”
“Jordan Jereb, the leader of the Republic of Florida Militia (ROF), a white nationalist hate group that we have been monitoring, earlier today claimed that Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is a member of his group. Hours after claiming a connection to Cruz, Jereb said he had been misunderstood.
“On its website, the ROF describes itself as ‘a white civil rights organization fighting for white Identitarian politics, And the ultimate creation of a white ethnostate so we can be free from anti-white policies and have policies that reflect our values as white westerners. The ROF Militia is the armed forces of the Republic Of Florida.’
“Jereb initially claimed that Cruz was a member, that he had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, and that he carpooled with other members from South Florida. Though the link was reported by several news organizations, the SPLC has not confirmed it.
“It may seem odd that Jereb would bring attention to his group by claiming a connection to Cruz, but Jereb has always been somewhat of a publicity seeker. In 2014, in fact, he wrote us to complain that we had not already listed ROF as a hate group. In April 2017, Michael Tubbs, the leader of the Florida chapter of the League of the South, a well-known hate group, wrote that Jereb ‘never misses a photo op’ and called him ‘a nut job who should be avoided.’”