31 A member of the Patriot Front was arrested by riot police after they said they saw a tipter being loaded onto U-Haul as a “small army”.
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – After the arrest of more than two dozen members of a white supremacist group near the North Idaho pride event, including one known as its founder, LGBTQ advocates said Sunday’s polarization and tense political climate had disrupted their community. is increasingly at risk.
31 members of the Patriot Front were arrested with rioting weapons after police said they saw people being loaded into U-Haul as a “small army” in the parking lot of a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Among those arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit riots was Thomas Ryan Russo of Grapevine, Texas. He is known by the Southern Poverty Law Center as the 23-year-old who formed the group after the deadly “Unite the Right” campaign. Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. He was not immediately registered as a lawyer, and his phone numbers went unanswered on Sunday.
Among those arrested was 24-year-old Mitchell F. Wagner of Florissant, Missouri.
Wagner’s lawyer, Michael Kielty, said Sunday that he had not been notified of the charges. He said the Patriot Front had no reputation for violence and that the case could be a matter for the First Amendment. “Even if you don’t like the speech, they have the right to do so,” he said.
The Patriotic Front is a white-dominated neo-Nazi group that sees black Americans, Jews, and LGBTQ people as enemies, said John Lewis, a local violent extremism expert at George Washington University.
Lewis said their use of the playbook involves identifying local complaints, setting up a messaging program on platforms such as the Telegram, and displaying events in neat columns, blue or white collared shirts, and demonstrations of force.
Pride celebrations have long been picketed by counter-protesters based on religious protests, but have historically been the main focus of armed extremist groups. Lewis said it’s not surprising given that anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has become an increasingly powerful challenge in the extreme right-wing online ecosystem.
“This collection of complaints fits their broader stories and demonstrates their ability to mobilize the same people against the ‘enemy’ over and over again,” he said.
John McCrosty, the first openly gay man elected to the Idaho legislature, said the arrests came amid growing rhetoric accusing him of LGBTQ issues and a wave of state legislation targeting transgender youth. Dozens of Pride flags were stolen from city streets in Boise this week.
“When faced with attacks of hatred, we must respond with a message from society that we embrace all people with all our differences,” McCrosty said in a text message.
Sunday also marked the sixth anniversary of a mass shooting at the Orlando LGBTQ club Pulse that killed 49 people, said Troy Williams of Utah, who is equal in Salt Lake City.
“Our nation is becoming increasingly polarized, and the result has been tragic and deadly,” he said.
Authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area are investigating a possible hate crime after a group of men shouted homophobic and anti-LGBTQ swearing during the Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo Library on Saturday. No arrests have been made, no one has been injured, and authorities are investigating the incident as there may be pressure on children.
Police in Coeur d’Alene on Saturday found flexible tools, a smoke grenade, shield guards and shields inside the van after the Northern Idaho Pride Alliance pulled it out of a park where the Pride event was held, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said.
The group rioted around the small northern city of Idaho, wearing Patriot Front patches and logos and some T-shirts with the words “Take America Back” on their hats, according to police and social media arrest videos.
The detainees were from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas.
Despite a history of extreme right-wing extremism in northern Idaho decades ago, White said only one of those arrested Saturday was from the state.
The six-hour Pride event generally went as planned, including stands, food, live music, a drag show and a march of more than 50 people, the Idaho Statesman said.
“We’ve been through a lot,” Jessica Mahuron of the North Idaho Pride Alliance, which organized the event, told KREM-TV. “Attempts at intimidation and intimidation on a psychological level, and the truth is that if you allow yourself to be intimidated, you are allowing them to win, and what we are showing today is that you will not win.”
The group is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
Arrests at Idaho Pride Parade: Patriot Front leader arrested
Source link Arrests at Idaho Pride Parade: Patriot Front leader arrested