Five Washington men, including two from King County, were among 31 members of a white supremacist group arrested Saturday in Idaho and accused of conspiring to riot at a pride event in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, authorities said Sunday.
The Patriot Front members were arrested with riot gear after a tipster reported seeing people loading up into a U-Haul like “a little army” at a hotel parking lot in Coeur d’Alene, according to Coeur d’Alene police.
The Washington residents, who range in age from 20 to 36, are from Des Moines and Ravensdale in King County; Concrete in Skagit County; and Spokane and Ellensburg in Eastern Washington, according to a Kootenai County Sheriff’s jail booking summary.
Although the names, ages, cities of residence and jail booking photos of the 31 arrestees have been made public, The Seattle Times is not naming the men because they have not yet been criminally charged. The men are all facing misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to riot and were released from jail after each posted a $300 bond. They are expected to make their first court appearances Monday.
Patriot Front is a white supremacist neo-Nazi group whose members perceive Black Americans, Jews and LGBTQ people as enemies, said Jon Lewis, a George Washington University researcher who specializes in homegrown violent extremism.
Their playbook, Lewis said, involves identifying local grievances to exploit, organizing on platforms like the messaging app Telegram and ultimately showing up at events wearing matching uniforms, in a display of strength.
In Coeur d’Alene on Saturday, police found riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields inside the U-Haul truck after pulling it over near a park where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding a Pride in the Park event, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said.
The group came to riot around the small northern Idaho city wearing Patriot Front patches and logos on their hats and some T-shirts reading “Reclaim America” according to police and videos of the arrests posted on social media.
Those arrested came from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas.