(Photo Credits: Screengrab from KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco’s Official YouTube Account)
Law enforcement in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, detained and arrested 31 people—allegedly members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front—on suspicion of conspiracy to riot. They were found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear near an Idaho LGBTQ pride event being held at Public Park last Saturday.
Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said in a statement during a news conference, “It is clear to us based on the gear that the individuals had with them, the stuff they had in their possession, the U-Haul with them along with paperwork that was seized from them, that they came to riot downtown.”
The group was found to have been wearing “shields, shin guards and other riot gear with them,” not to mention they had with them documents that are “similar to an operations plan that a police or military group would put together for an event,” CNN reports.
Further, White revealed that the group—which were identified as members of Patriot Front because of their arm patches and logos on their hats—planned to riot not just at the LGBTQ pride event but also in several other areas across downtown Coeur d’Alene.
White added that all 31 suspects were charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor. The individuals were reportedly from at least 11 states namely Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas, while one of them came from Idaho. They were booked Saturday afternoon and were arraigned on Monday.
Meanwhile, the North Idaho Pride Alliance thanked the authorities for stopping the potential riot in a statement to CNN. They said:
“As a small community nonprofit, North Idaho Pride Alliance is taking a much-needed day of rest after successfully organizing a momentous, joyful, and SAFE Pride in the Park community celebration under the most challenging of circumstances.”
They added, “We are deeply grateful to law enforcement agencies who were present and professionally responded throughout the day to keep our community safe.”
Patriot Front is described by Anti-Defamation League as a “white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else.” ADL also said that “the group split from another white supremacist group, Vanguard America, in late August 2017.” Read more about them here.