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Police getting death threats after white supremacist arrests

Law enforcement detains and arrest 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front on suspicion of conspiracy to riot after they were removed from a U-Haul truck near the LGBTQ community's Pride in the Park event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, June 11, 2022.
Jim Urquhart for NPR
Law enforcement detains and arrest 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front on suspicion of conspiracy to riot after they were removed from a U-Haul truck near the LGBTQ community's Pride in the Park event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, June 11, 2022.

Coeur d’Alene’s police chief says he and his officers are receiving death threats after arresting more than 30 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front over the weekend.

The alleged plotters were piled into the back of a Uhaul moving truck and on their way to try to start a riot at a Pride celebration when they were arrested Saturday, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a press conference Monday. White said the men had riot gear, a smoke grenade and a written blueprint for sparking chaos.

“I think some of us were a bit surprised by not only the level of preparation that we saw, but the equipment that was carried and worn by those individuals along with the large amount of equipment that was left in the van when the stop happened,” White said.

Patriot Front is a group with neo-Nazi roots that supports a white ethnostate. Since its formation in 2017, it’s become known for flash protests. Members often file out of moving trucks and march through the streets in uniforms in shows of force.

Since the arrests, White says people have been phoning in death threats to his department from as far away as Norway. White also pushed back on the baseless conspiracy theory that the Patriot Front members were federal law enforcement agents in disguise.

The arrests didn’t stop the Coeur D’Alene Pride event from happening. Idaho State Representative John McCrostie, the only openly gay member of the Idaho legislature, said he was happy to see that.

“That's what we have to do each time that anti-semitic and racist homophobic transphobic messages are expressed is to fight back and insist that that we are here and that we have a strong presence and we add to the diversity and the beauty of our community,” he said.

The alleged plotters came from across the country and were all charged with misdemeanors. Arraignment on those charges had not been scheduled at the time of publication.

Find reporter Heath Druzin on Twitter: @hdruzin

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