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McLean launches investigation into 20-year career of retired BPD Captain who spoke at white supremacist conference

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A retired Boise Police Captain has been condemned by Mayor Lauren McLean and two local policing organizations after he was linked to posts and a conference known for white supremacist views over the weekend. 

Captain Matt Bryngelson, one of several officers who spoke out with complaints against recently resigned Chief Ryan Lee, was on the schedule to speak at a conference in Tennessee put on by American Renaissance under the pseudonym Daniel Vineyard. In his bio for the conference schedule, next to a photo of him in what appears to be a BPD uniform, he describes himself as a “race realist” police officer who retired in a mid-size city. 

“Race realism” is the philosophy behind American Renaissance, a former print magazine and website run by Jared Taylor. The website description of the philosophy says “if whites permit themselves to become a minority population, they will lose their civilization, their heritage, and even their existence as a distinct people.” The About Us section has posts about “white survival,” “multiculturalism, and the war against white America” and asserts different races have different average intelligence, with whites being superior to others. 

It also has posts specifically noting when Black Americans committed crimes and references to “The Great Replacement” theory that white people are being replaced by immigrants and people of color with an aim toward white extinction. Another blog post on the site called itself “a cautionary tale of miscegenation,” or when people of two different races marry, have children, or have romantic relationships. 

Bryngelson’s writings and appearance at the conference were revealed by Charlottesville, Virginia, area writer and activist Molly Conger on Twitter.

In its 10pm newscast Sunday, KTVB said the news outlet was not aware of Bryngelson’s associations with American Renaissance when it interviewed him about his opposition to Lee, who is Chinese-American.

After the publication of a story by KTVB featuring an interview with Bryngelson and other officers, along with input from the Boise Police Union, McLean asked for Lee’s resignation. In the weeks since, another officer has filed suit against the City of Boise, alleging the government failed to protect its officers from Lee while he was leading the department. Lee narrowly missed criminal charges after injuring an officer’s neck in a briefing room. 

A photo from Captain Matt Bryngelson’s promotion in April 2021. Courtesy of the Boise Police Department

‘This is no time to circle the wagons’

McLean issued a statement over the weekend about Bryngelson and also offered strong remarks to the media at a session of Union negotiations with the Boise Police Union Monday morning. 

She said the city will be hiring an independent investigator with “deep experience in this work” to track down if Bryngelson or others were able to use police department resources to advance racist ideologies. 

“Let me be clear: I expect, and the community deserves, your full cooperation, your honesty, and integrity. I expect this from the union, leadership, and officers. This is no time to circle the wagons, and I will not tolerate anyone who impedes this investigation in any way. If you cannot or will not cooperate, now is the time to leave – and to leave the profession. People should be able to trust the Police department.”

Other members of law enforcement also condemned Bryngelson over the weekend, including former Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, the Treasure Valley Fraternal Order of Police, and Boise’s Police Union. 

“Bryngelson’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions are unbecoming of a law enforcement officer of any rank and they are devastating to our membership and our community relationships,” the FOP’s statement said. 

Interview details Bryngelson’s views on Black Americans and crime 

Bryngelson appears in a video interview titled “What It’s Like to Be a White Cop” with Taylor posted on September 2nd, but filmed in May prior to his retirement, according to the Idaho Statesman

BoiseDev was unable to independently view the video in its entirety because it was removed from American Renaissance after the publication of the Statesman’s story about Bryngelson and his comments, but a small clip of it was available on Conger’s Twitter page. The website implemented code blocking it from the Internet Archive, which prevented BoiseDev from reviewing old content posted on the website that’s now deleted. 

In the clip available on Twitter, Bryngelson said Black people or “a non-white” commit “whatever the worst crime of the day is.” He said white people will drive drunk, commit domestic violence or steal things, but “when it’s something that you pause and go ‘holy cow, I can’t believe that happened in this town’ it’s almost without exception it’s someone who’s not from there and is a Black person. It’s almost without fail.”

“It’s a script,” Bryngelson said. “No matter what the case is. You can catch them just finishing beating someone, and during the subsequent resisting arrest, we’re called racists. We can catch them in the act, and the mere fact that we’re catching them is racist. One hundred percent of the time, we’re accused of being racist, especially in this town because there’s so few Black people there, but when we do encounter them, of course, it’s going to be white officers because that’s mostly what we have and when we get arrested they will scream racism every single time.”

A screenshot of the interview Bryngelson participated in on American Renaissance. Courtesy of Molly Conger

At the beginning of the interview, Taylor remarked about how unusual it is to interview an active duty police officer and then proceeds to interview him about his career, his interactions with Black people and at one point he uses a transphobic slur, according to the newspaper. The Idaho Statesman reported Bryngelson told Taylor Black Americans commit crimes “the sound human mind can’t even comprehend…let alone carry out.”

“That’s strong talk,” Taylor responded, according to the Statesman

He also describes the deaths of Black men killed by police, like George Floyd and Michael Brown, and argues their deaths would not have occurred if they had simply complied with police, the Statesman reported. Bryngelson also commented on how protests against unarmed Black men being killed by police have made it difficult to hire and retain officers, the Statesman said. This was also what he discussed at the American Renaissance conference, where his talk was titled “The Vilification of Police and What It Means for America.”

‘Daniel Vineyard’ also authors two blog posts on American Renaissance

The first post attributed to Vineyard from July 2020 is titled “My Career as a White Police Officer” and starts out with him describing attending a nearly all-white high school in a California suburb and what he said were negative interactions he had playing mostly Black teams playing football. He then goes on to discuss his time as a junior law enforcement officer working in the courthouse, where he says most of the people in court were Black, and he began to learn “their distinctive behavior.”

“If I ever ventured up to the actual halls upstairs, they were choked with black men and women, shouting and roughhousing,” the post says. “The sanctity of the courtroom and its procedures were lost on them. Many blacks seemed not to understand what a metal detector does. They would walk through with large knives in their pockets, fistfuls of change, huge belt buckles, and the like. It got to the point that I would stop them before they went through and remind them what counted as “metal.”

The post goes on to describe his entry into sworn law enforcement, how he says affirmative action made it difficult to become a white police officer, and how the Black recruits in his academy class were always coming in the last grouping for running times behind gold, silver, and silver two ranking. Bryngelson also said the Black members of his academy class also turned in subpar reporting and writing exams and made frequent mistakes on the shooting range, unlike he and his white counterparts. 

He went on to describe several interactions he had with Black Americans and Latinos committing crimes during his time as a law enforcement officer, how officers were reluctant to “get involved with blacks” and how Quinceanera parties (thrown for 15-year-old Latino girls) were magnets for violent crime. The post said he eventually left California for a mid-size, nearly all-white city in the Northwest where nearly everyone carries a gun along with other officers who were fleeing “black violence” in the hopes of raising children “in an area that won’t be subjected to ‘diversity’ in the schools and violence in their neighborhoods.”

McLean swears in Bryngelson upon his promotion to captain in 2021. Courtesy Boise Police

“White people are too frightened to talk about the rampant black crime that is documented every day. Whites have become the “silenced majority,” in order to protect their livelihood and to avoid being called the word against which there is no defense: “racist.” This police department is full of men and women who can tell city council exactly what happens when a city submits to the corrosive grip of the black hand. Will they listen before it’s too late?”

The text of his second post, from June 2021, had been removed from the American Renaissance website when BoiseDev went to review it, but a screenshot of a portion of the post titled “Can a White Cop be a Victim of Microaggressions?” is available on Conger’s Twitter page. The post describes being present at a Boise City Council Meeting when he says City Council Member Lisa Sánchez, the only person of color on the council, pushed past Bryngelson and the other white lieutenants to greet a newly promoted Black lieutenant “full of ‘cultural’ signs and greetings.”

The post further described how another city council member, who he described as “an over-the-top liberal, kerchief wearing, beta male” fake smiled and nodded at him and then walked past him to enthusiastically greet the Black lieutenant. This appears to refer to city council member Jimmy Hallyburton, who frequently wears a kerchief around his neck and runs the Boise Bicycle Project nonprofit, which provides bicycles and other support for refugees and others in the Treasure Valley. 

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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