Authorities arrested 31 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front close to an Idaho pleasure occasion Saturday after they had been discovered packed into the again of a U-Haul truck with riot gear.
The lads had been standing contained in the truck carrying khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas protecting their faces when Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and started arresting them on the facet of the street.
“They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White mentioned at a information convention.
All 31 had been charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor, White mentioned. The lads had been going via the reserving course of Saturday afternoon and are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, he mentioned.
Based mostly on proof collected and paperwork, authorities discovered that the group was planning to riot in a number of areas of downtown, not simply the park, White mentioned.
Police discovered riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields contained in the van, White mentioned. They wore arm patches and logos on their hats that recognized them as members of Patriot Front, he mentioned.
Police discovered in regards to the U-Haul from a tipster, who reported that “it looked like a little army was loading up into the vehicle” within the parking zone of a lodge, White mentioned. Officers noticed the truck quickly after and pulled it over, he mentioned.
Movies of the arrest posted on social media present the lads kneeling on the grass with their palms zip-tied behind their backs.
“Reclaim America” was written on the again of 1 shirt.
Police led the lads, one after the other, to the entrance of patrol vehicles, took off their masks after which introduced them to a police van.
These arrested got here from no less than 11 states, together with Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas, White mentioned.
Just one was from Idaho, he mentioned.
The truck was stopped close to the place the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride within the Park occasion. Police had stepped up their presence within the space in the course of the occasion.
“It appears these people did not come here to engage in peaceful events,” Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris informed a Coeur d’Alene Press reporter.
Patriot Front is described by the Southern Poverty Regulation Middle as “a white nationalist hate group” that shaped after the lethal “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
“Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country,” the Southern Poverty Regulation Middle mentioned of the group.
Amongst these in custody late Saturday was a person with the identical identify as Patriot Front’s Dallas-based founder, Thomas Ryan Rousseau.
The group’s manifesto requires the formation of a white ethnostate in america, the Southern Poverty Regulation Middle mentioned.
Bellisle reported from Seattle.