Grand Bay, AL – Since he was punched in the face on January 20 outside President Trump’s inauguration, white supremacist Richard Spencer has rarely been seen in public without a team of bodyguards. He appears to have been hand-picking young men enthusiastic about neo-Nazi politics with an interest in doing violence and a willingness to take punches for him.
One of Spencer’s bodyguards, alias “Caerulus Rex,” is a host of the neo-nazi podcast “Salting the Earth” and was noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “pseudonymous … Charlottesville organizer” who “solicits funds through the PayPal account [email protected].”
The twitter account for “Caerulus Rex” displays a mix of racist and antisemitic comments as well as promotion of Richard Spencer’s appearance at the University of Florida on October 19.
(Florida authorities have recently drawn criticism for declaring a state of emergency in order to deploy overwhelming police force to protect Spencer’s private event at the University of Florida from counter-protests. University of Florida administrators have reportedly ignored their own events policy to let Spencer’s personal staff, which could potentially include Caerulus Rex, handle tickets and security for the event.)
Screenshots of Snapchat and Discord messages sent to Unicorn Riot strongly indicate that “Caerulus Rex” is 32-year-old Brian Brathovd, who appears to be a member of the Alabama National Guard.
A simple horizontal flip of the selfies sent by “Caerulus Rex” show that the letters seen on his military uniform make up the surname Brathovd.
“Caerulus Rex” can be seen in the picture below working on Richard Spencer’s bodyguard detail during a white supremacist rally in Washington, DC on June 25.
Brathovd’s identity was further confirmed by jail records from his arrest for assault in December 2014. His mugshot from the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office matches the other images shown above.
Also among the materials we received were screenshots of direct messages sent in May 2017 over Discord between a young woman and “Caerulus Rex”, in which he states he is “in the National Guard … at drill” and says he “Never left [the military]. Don’t broadcast that.”
Additional records from Unite The Right shed further light on Brathovd’s role in the white supremacist movement. A FOIA request filed in the aftermath of Unite The Right in Charlottesville shows that a Brian Brathovd communicated with Charlottesville Police Department Captain Wendy Lewis months ahead of the deadly August 12 event, introducing himself as “Unite The Right’s highest ranking security.”
An alt-right podcast from last month alleges that a woman going by “Karma” has for several years been gaining the trust of single men in the “alt-right” movement and then exposing their personal information online. The website Restoring the Honor, which independently published many of the same materials we were sent, also cites a “Karma Reynoldson” as the source, and tweets made by user @KarmaReynoldson are the first public online source for these images.
A US Army spokesperson responded to our request for comment indicating they may search for further information about Brathovd but did not directly address his military status.
A representative of the Alabama National Guard responded that they are collecting information for an investigation and would get back to us. A spokesman at the National Guard press office referred us to AR-620 Army Command Policy section 4-12, which states:
Military personnel must reject participation in extremist organizations and activities. Extremist organizations and activities are ones that advocate racial, gender, or ethnic hatred or intolerance; advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, or national origin, or advocate the use of or use force or violence or unlawful means to deprive individuals of their rights under the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States, or any State, by unlawful means.
Twitter user @caerulus_rex_tm responded to our request for comment with “I don’t respond to media requests [from] fake news.” However, a tweet he posted last month seems to also verify that he recently experienced exposure of his personal information, presumably after sending messages to “Karma.”
UPDATE: Later Tuesday afternoon, we received an updated comment from the Alabama National Guard, which reads as follows:
Thank you for your inquiry. The individual in question is a member of the Alabama National Guard. The ALNG will investigate this matter. We do not comment related to on-going investigations to protect the integrity of the investigation.
According to Department of Defense Instruction 1325.6, “military personnel must reject active participation in criminal gangs pursuant to section 544 of Public Law 110-181 (Reference (i)) and in other organizations that advocate supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes; including those that attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin; advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.” Commanders have the authority to employ the full range of administrative and disciplinary actions including separation or appropriate criminal action against personnel engaged in prohibited activities.
The Alabama National Guard is committed to being an organization that is characterized by equity and inclusion and one that is reflective of this great nation we represent, where all individuals have dignity and worth.
We will provide updates as more information becomes available.
Unicorn Riot’s archive of reporting on Charlottesville includes detailed information on secret neo-nazi and white supremacist Discord chat servers used to organize racially motivated attacks, can be found by clicking here.
To help our volunteer-operated, horizontally-organized, non-profit media collective please consider a tax-deductible donation: