A photograph from an August 23, 1992, article in The Tennessean about an effort to build “a Southern headquarters in Middle Tennessee for the Aryan Nations.” Patton is identified in the photo as “Damien Patton, left on couch, who pleaded guilty to the drive-by shooting of the West End Synagogue.” Photo illustration: Newspapers.com

CEO of Surveillance Firm Banjo Once Helped KKK Leader Shoot Up a Synagogue

Documents reveal Damien Patton, CEO of SoftBank-backed Banjo, admitted to being a neo-Nazi skinhead in his youth

An August 23, 1992, article from The Tennessean about an effort to build “a Southern headquarters in Middle Tennessee for the Aryan Nations.” Patton is identified in an accompanying photo as “Damien Patton, left on couch, who pleaded guilty to the drive-by shooting of the West End Synagogue.” The photo appeared in the criminal trial of Jonathan David Brown. Image: Newspapers.com

“[We] essentially do what Palantir does,” the lobbyist said.

“A lot of Christian Identity speeches and a lot of speeches about how we’ve got to overcome the Jewish system that’s running our government and how we’ve got to take back our land.”

An October 2, 1989, article from The Tennessean documenting graffiti painted on the West End Synagogue eight months before the shooting that involved Patton. Image: Newspapers.com
The West End Synagogue in Nashville, Tennessee, was the target of a June 1990 drive-by shooting by Leonard Armstrong and Damien Patton. Photos: Matt Stroud
The apartment where Damien Patton resided at the time of the June 1990 shooting of the West End Synagogue. Photo: Matt Stroud

Brown gave Patton $500, and Patton wore a pair of overalls “to look more of a farmer or an Amish-type individual,” Patton said.

“[The shooting made] it clear that there were Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members who were really intent on their hatred of Jews that they wanted Jews dead.”

During interviews and speeches, Patton has been vague about the details of his youth.

Read more
Damien Patton’s 1991 federal grand jury testimony
Read more
Damien Patton’s 1992 trial testimony

Matt Stroud is an investigative reporter and the author of Thin Blue Lie: The Failure of High Tech Policing. Email: stroudjournalism AT gmail