BY MARTIN KIDSTON
One man’s threat to “hunt down and eliminate” members of the Missoula City Council has gained the attention of local law enforcement, which for now has banned the man from city property and is working to connect him to resources.
Brandon Bryant, who claims to be an Air Force veteran, posted the video to YouTube in mid-December, where he railed against Missoula’s development community, the city’s elected officials, his past girlfriend and military commanders.
“I’ve witnessed how those same disgusting, putrid, sacks-of-shit people (are) coming and buying up my back yard and commercializing life to humans,” he begins the video. “The entire Missoula City Council has sold out Missoula to the highest bidder.”
From there, Bryant’s video grows darker, suggesting developers and the City Council “step aside and put their tails between their legs and run.” He vowed to seek vengeance “over the next year.”
“I will dedicate myself to hunting you out and exterminating you,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where I see you. It doesn’t matter at all. I will be eliminating this wretched f*****g filth from the human soul. All you deserve to be eliminated and I’ll do it. That is my promise. You will submit and you will die.”
In mid-January, Bryant addressed the City Council’s Committee of the Whole with what appeared to be a sword. He placed the weapon on the table and referred to it during comment.
“I swore an oath not to kill another human being again,” Bryant said during comment. “I carry this around sometimes because it’s just a stick, but it was carved as a tool specifically created to end another human being’s life.”
Bryant is among a handful of recent attendees who address the council at nearly every meeting, mostly with disdain over development and their inability to find meaningful work. Along the way, they’ve referred to “ivory towers of ideology” and the “dark underbelly of Missoula’s slave ship” while making other questionable statements used in their arguments.
While the rhetoric has been allowed to pass, Bryant’s threats of murder and violence crossed the line, prompting several elected officials and city employees to express concern. He has been banned from City Hall and future City Council meetings until further notice.
Over the past two months, law enforcement also has made an increased presence at City Council and its various committee meetings, with one or more officers stationed in the room.
“I take the safety of the public, council members and staff seriously and I rely on our law-enforcement professionals to assess threats and risks,” Missoula Mayor John Engen told the Missoula Current. “In this case, the threat was blatant, explicit and broadcast, so suspending the privilege of access to council meetings and City Hall is measured and appropriate.”
Interim Missoula Police Chief Mike Colyer said Bryant was issued a written notice of trespass, excluding him from attending public meetings held by the City Council. He didn’t attend Monday night’s meeting as a result.
“We also made personal contact with him, explaining the reason for his written notice,” Colyer said. “We explained it would be a crime for him to be present. We also followed up with him to see if there was something we could do for him, if he needed some resources. One of our officers is helping connect those dots with him.”
Colyer said his officers will retain their presence at City Council meetings and that Bryant’s notice of trespass will remain in place until further notice. He said his department will do what it can to ensure no acts of violence occur.
“You can’t afford not to, especially something like this that was pretty explicit,” Colyer said. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to prevent something like that from happening, and also seeing what we can do for long-term solutions to get the person the help they may need.”