After the arrest of more than two dozen members of a white supremacist group near a northern Idaho pride event, including one identified as its founder, LGBTQ advocates said Sunday that polarization and a fraught political climate have put their community increasingly at risk.
Police say the 31 Patriot Front members were arrested with riot gear after a tipster reported seeing people loading up into a U-Haul at a hotel parking lot in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Among those arrested was Thomas Rousseau of Grapevine, Texas, who has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as the 23-year-old who founded the group.
The men were standing inside the truck wearing khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and began arresting them on the side of the road. Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said “they came to riot downtown.”
White said all 31 were charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor. The men were going through the booking process Saturday afternoon and are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday. White said those arrested came from at least 11 states.