Buffalo Alt-Right April Fool's Rally

by / Apr. 4, 2017 6am EST

Three area elected officials organized and participated in a rally in Buffalo’s Niagara Square that was billed as “pro-Trump”. Assemblyman David DiPietro, racist old troll Carl Paladino of the Buffalo Board of Education, and Sheriff Tim Howard all appeared, and addressed the assembled crowd. Notably, Sheriff Howard appeared in uniform. 

Here is some video that local photographer and environmental activist Jay Burney recorded (UPDATE: Burney advised Tuesday morning that he had re-configured his settings to private due to harassment and threats from Trump supporters. The videos are, therefore, not visible to people not already connected with him): Many photographs that emerged from that rally, a few stood out. Especially this one: 

The man in the camo is “Scott Lacy”, whom WKBW uncritically interviewed a few days before this rally. Next to him is Todd Biro of Niagara Falls. 

Horace Scott Lacy (aka Scott Lacy, aka HS Lacy), the man who recently leafleted Lewiston with white supremacist propaganda, appears to have come to Western New York to recruit for his Houston-area Neo-Nazi group, the Aryan Renaissance Society (ARS).

WKBW reporter Ali Touhey, who interviewed Lacy, did not further inquire or report on Lacy’s affiliation with the ARS. A YouTube video posted to a White Lives Matter account depicts the entire interview, including Lacy’s statement to Touhey that he is a member of the Aryan Renaissance Society, Touhey’s expression of incredulity that NYS Gov Cuomo was investigating Lacy’s propaganda, and Touhey’s agreement to accompany Lacy and a third party to the Lewiston police station for an interview.

Beyond just spreading offensive rhetoric, Lacy’s associations with violent offenders causes concern that his activities could escalate and pose a serious threat to Western New Yorkers. The following consists of original research into Lacy’s history and associates through social media profiles on Facebook and on VK, the Russian social networking site preferred by white nationalists, and news reports and public documents. Note that this Twitter account ends with “88”, which is white nationalist code for “Heil Hitler”; the number 8 denotes the letter “H”, the 8th letter in the alphabet

According to the Houston Chronicle, Lacy was arrested in 2007 after a police chase in a stolen truck. Shortly thereafter, Joshua Aaron Kennedy, the half-brother of the woman in the truck with Lacy, was arrested in possession body armor and military explosives along with Sean Dolan White, an AWOL soldier. The Chronicle identified Lacy as a “high-ranking member” of the Aryan Circle prison gang. Kennedy was later sentenced to 50 years in prison for plotting the murder of a sheriff’s deputy while in jail on an unrelated charge.

In 2009, an article attributed to a Howard Scott Lacy appeared in the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance, describing the Aryan Circle gang, as well as other aspects of prison life from a white supremacist’s viewpoint.

In August 2016, Lacy was quoted in a news story where he and his organization protested outside the Houston headquarters of the NAACP.

In October 2016, Lacy and his group, some of whom armed themselves with guns, protested at the Anti-Defamation League. Lacy posted a video to YouTube before the protest of himself and his sister Barbara Jo Vidrine, (aka BJ Faulk) attempting to gain access to the ADL office. Lacy is known to the ADL, which describes him as, 

… a felon with an extensive criminal history dating back to 1985, including convictions for possession of a controlled substance, aggravated robbery, and multiple theft charges. He was arrested in April 2016 on aggravated robbery charges. 

A cursory Google search reveals a dossier on Lacy and his White Lives Matter movement from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC identifies White Lives Matter as an initiative of the Aryan Renaissance Society (ARS), a Houston-area Neo-Nazi organization.

The profile names Lacy, along with a woman named Rebecca Barnette, as the moderators of a White Lives Matter facebook group for Oklahomans and Texans. Barnette was also the organizer of the White Lives Matter rally held in Buffalo’s Cazenovia Park in July 2016, but was not in attendance. This summer’s rally, followed by Lacy’s March 2017 leafleting suggests that ARS is attempting to recruit in Western New York. A comment on a photo from one of Lacy’s several Facebook accounts supports this conclusion. The photo shows Lacy with Todd Biro of Niagara Falls; the sole comment on the photo, posted on March 14, 2017 reads “Recruit u fucks…” 

Please take note of the emblem on top of the flagpole behind the two men in the photo. 

Todd Biro’s Facebook profile is an account called “Marie N Todd Biro,” which also belongs to Marie Basile. Basile was identified in a post on It’s Going Down as a participant in the White Lives Matter protest at the Anti-Defamation League attended by Lacy. (Curiously, Basile also appears to have been engaged for a time to John Bobbitt, the Niagara Falls native whose then-wife Lorena severed his penis in the 1990s.)

The “Marie N Todd Biro” account is friends on Facebook with an account belonging to Lacy’s sister BJ Faulk​ aka Barbara Vidrine​. Further corroborating that the man in the “Recruit u fucks…” photo is Biro is a photo from an account named “Todd Andrew Biro” that clearly shows the same man. 

In the image shown above, Biro’s hat bears the number “14”, which is a symbol in Nazi circles of their “14 words” slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Biro has had run-ins with law enforcement in the past, and was once on the list of Niagara Falls’ most wanted, for grand larceny. Todd Biro’s brother, Brett Biro, is currently running for Niagara Falls City Council, according to his Facebook page.

Also, the “Marie N Todd Biro” account posted a message on WKBW reporter Ali Touhey’s Facebook page thanking her “again” for her story on Lacy, implying that Basile or Biro had already thanked Touhey once.

Biro appears to have been posting videos on a Facebook group called “White Lives Matter III” since at least September 2016. In a September video, Biro makes reference to an upcoming ARS protest outside the Anti-Defamation League, which occurred in October 2016. 

Other videos posted to the page as early as 2015 do not have Biro in them, but depict the hanging of a “White Lives Matter” banner on what the cameraman calls “the most heavily trafficked road in Niagara Falls.” Posts on the page are geotagged in Niagara Falls and Connecticut, and include several videos of Lacy’s interview with WKBW and of news coverage of the leafleting in Lewiston.

A post on the account, shared by Kevin Myers Harris​, who appears to be the Connecticut-based administrator, claims to be audio of Todd Biro calling a school and threatening to a class-action lawsuit against any teacher that wears a Black Lives Matter shirt. However, the school he refers to appears to be in Philadelphia, rendering it unclear whether Biro actually has children at the school or if he was just harassing a school hundreds of miles away.

A YouTube video posted by a Melissa Lacy, allegedly of Biro’s wedding day, depicts Todd Biro and Marie Basile begins with a white power salute and includes Biro telling Basile to get off the phone so they can “kill a n*****.” 

There were myriad confederate flags at the rally as well, which led to Sheriff Howard being photographed thusly

On Monday, the organizer of the rally, Rus Thompson said that the image was “photoshopped” — a charge echoed by the Sheriff himself.

Looks like Thompson doesn’t understand what Photoshopping is, as opposed to telephoto lenses. 

Here are other images of Howard that Jay Burney took at that time on that day:


No one reporting the lie that these images are “Photoshopped” ever asked Jay Burney, the photographer, about that. Here are some more: 

Also, get a load of this guy, who so hates Senator Chuck Schumer that he likens one of the country’s most visible Jewish politicians to Hitler’s SS. Nice shirt, too!

UPDATE: The man depicted in this photo is perennial candidate Rick(y) Donovan. In 2014, Donovan — a member of the so-called “Independence” Party — lost his own party’s primary to Democrat Tim Kennedy. Donovan is a state employee — a corrections officer at Albion earning over $63,000 in public money.  

After Saturday’s pro-Trump rally, County Legislator Betty Jean Grant and Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner called on Tim Howard to resign, assailing the Sheriff for addressing a crowd including confederate flag wavers and “White Lives Matter” Nazis.  

Here is the text of Sheriff Howard’s speech — again, delivered in full uniform at a partisan pro-Trump political rally — that uniform offers an official county impimatur on it all. He wasn’t there as a private citizen, but as the Sheriff of, ostensibly, the entire county. (all [sic]). 

I am proud to be here today among fellow patriots — but must first recognize that the meaning of the word Patriot has been diluted by political rhetoric over the years

Historically the American Patriots were the colonists who rebelled against British rule, and ultimately gave birth to our nation.

It began with a Declaration of Independence — and a statement of fundamental beliefs — if you reject these beliefs you are not a modern day patriot

To be an American Patriot you must accept that: 

All men are created equal,

That we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights — including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

That government is instituted to protect these rights, and

That government powers come only from the consent of the Governed

That led to the Revolutionary War, followed by the drafting of our Constitution -and various amendments thereafter

To be a modern day patriot you must both possess and display a strong passion and loyalty

To the fundamental principles upon which our nation was formed, and to the constitution which establishes our form of government.

Many of you have heard me proclaim my support for the Second Amendment’s protection of our right to keep and bear arms.

If you really listened you heard my support of our entire constitution including our choice of religion, freedom of speech, our right to peacefully assemble as we are doing here today,

I also continue to support the freedom of the press, even when they are that is not equally supportive of me.

I have often quoted, or misquoted, the expression “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Last night I searched for the author — and learned that history had incorrectly attributed it to Voltaire when in fact it was written by a woman, Beatrice Evelyn Hall writing about Voltaire. The point I wish to make -is that we must respect the rights of others to express opinions contrary to our own.

I also want to encourage everyone to do their own thinking. Another great quote attributed to both Benjamin Franklin and Edgar Allan Poe, suggests that you should believe not of what you hear and only half of what you see.

Let me tell you some other things that I believe -

I believe in the American people — regardless of where they came from

I believe, as stated by Civil Rights Activist Malcom X, that just being in America doesn’t make you an American, nor does being born in America make you an American, just as sitting at a table does not make you a diner, you have to be eating from what’s on your plate to be a diner.

Adding my own comment to this thought — To be an American you must embrace the principles of patriotism, those irrevocable principles cited in our declaration of independence.

I believe that we cannot reject the ideas of one president without rejecting those same ideas as once held by former presidents. By way of example — about 100 years ago President Theodore Roosevelt stated “every immigrant who comes here should be required within 5 years to learn English or leave the country.

He also said “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.

But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. President Roosevelt also denounced divided alliances, and stated that one absolute way of bringing our nation to ruin is to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.

President Ronald Reagan stated that “a nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.

I also believe, as stated by American Journalist Bill O’Reilly, that the most powerful nation on earth should be able to pass a fair, effective immigration law that combines compassion with responsibility and does not injure hard working Americans who are taxed up to here”

I believe that we may be a life boat for the world, but there is a limit to what any life boat can hold, and the responsibility to determine that ultimately rests with the captain, or in our case, the president.

Having spent most of my adult life in policing, I must spend a few minutes addressing the impact of the immigration and border debate upon police community relations.

The police have a responsibility is to assist all victims of crime. About 12 years ago the Erie County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Federal authorities on a human trafficking task force, one of the first in the nation. We know that residents of other countries are often lured by the American dream and place their trust in deceitful people — only to find themselves as modern day slaves. We still have an obligation to help them, and we know that the individuals who smuggle honorable, hard working, but naïve people into this country — are just as willing to smuggle those who would do us harm These smugglers are motivated by greed, and nothing else.

We also know that many of the illicit drugs killing our children are smuggled across our borders, like the heroin from Mexico and fentonil from China that more than 100 Erie county residents already this year, including 7 this week within a 24 hour period.

This week the International Association of Chiefs of Police,IACP released this statement on behalf of the majority of police agencies across our great nation;

Immigration enforcement is a complex and Challenging issue for communities and their law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.

State and local agencies are steadfast in their commitment to removing from their communities dangerous criminals and others who pose a threat to public safety Any suggestion to the contrary is simply inaccurate.

The IACP agrees that illegal immigration and border security issues directly impact the safety of communities and that effective action is needed to meet this challenge. At the same time, however, state and local law enforcement agencies depend on the cooperation of immigrants, legal or not, in solving a wide variety of crimes. Striking the proper balance between enforcement and cooperation requires the full participation of elected officials, community leaders, and their law enforcement agencies.

The IACP has and always will strongly oppose the use of sanctions to drive policy; this was true with prior administrations and remains true with the current administration. The funds provided through the Department of Justice support a wide variety of crime fighting , crime prevention, and public health initiatives. Penalizing communities by withholding assistance funding to law enforcement sgencies and other critical programs is counter-productive to our shared mission of reducing violent crime and keeping our communities safe.

We stand ready to work with the administration to help identify thoughtful, effective solutions to this complex and challenging issue.

Let me end on a lighter note with a prayer, paraphrased from an Irish toast;

God bless those who support our constitution and defend our American way of life, and to those set on destroying our freedoms, may God turn their hearts, but if He cannot turn their hearts, may he at least turn their ankles, so we might know them by their limp.

Howard also said that “Black Lives Matter” was there protesting. They weren’t — the people dressed in black and wearing masks were Antifa, which is short for “Anti-fascist”. The organizers of the rally have been twisting themselves like pretzels to try and rebut the notion that there was any sort of white nationalism going on at their rally. One of the louder complainers posted this to his Facebook page: 

The organizer of the rally, recent voter fraud convict Rus Thompson reacted thusly, 

So, there weren’t confederate treason flags at the rally, and even if they were, they’re not racist even though they are emblematic of a regime that was created on the basis that white people should be allowed to buy, sell, and own black people. The tea party, which can’t seem to stop lying, could have — but didn’t and won’t — put this all to bed with one simple statement: 

I condemn hate speech & don’t support the confederate flag

That they won’t speaks volumes. That the sheriff won’t is worthy of removal.