Idaho police on Saturday arrested 31 members of the Patriot Front hate group who planned to “riot” at a Pride event in downtown Coeur d’Alene, officials announced.
Members of the group — who all gave the impression to be white men — were crammed right into a U-Haul truck and were discovered when it was pulled over by police who had received a tip from a “concerned citizen.”
The tipster saw the members of the white supremacist organization — which “looked like a bit army” – loading into the truck with masks and shields, in line with officials. Police also found shin guards, at the very least one smoke bomb, and what was described as an “operations plan,” which officials declined to detail. They wore arm bands and hat patches saying “Patriot Front,” in line with police.
The members were nabbed near an area where a Coeur d’Alene LGBTQ Pride event was happening. Photos and video from the scene after they were arrested show the members dressed almost identically in khakis, navy blue shirts, beige hats, and a white cloth covering their faces. Among the T-shirts included slogans, resembling “Reclaim America.”
“They got here to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a news conference (see the video up top). All have been charged with conspiracy to riot.
White said police had received information for days that there have been plans by various right-wing extremists to disrupt Pride events on the town. Consequently, there was a powerful police contingent on duty, and the arrests were made without incident, he said. He thanked the “extremely astute citizen” who alerted police in regards to the men.
White said he personally didn’t see firearms, however the search was just starting, including at a hotel where the boys were staying. He also said local police officials were involved with the FBI “all day.”
Based on material collected from the truck, the boys planned to riot in numerous locations, in line with police.
“It appears they didn’t come here to interact in peaceful events,” Kootenai County Sheriff Robert Norris, told the Coeur d’Alene Press.
The North Idaho News later Saturday listed the names of 18 of those arrested following an interview with White after processing. They’re being held within the Kootenai County Jail and are scheduled to seem in court on Monday.
Norris emphasized on the news conference that information was only preliminary, and that an investigation was continuing into some other possible activities the group could have been plotting.
Those arrested got here from at the very least 11 states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas.