An Idaho police station is receiving death threats after 31 members of Patriot Front were arrested on Saturday after attempting to start a riot at a Pride event supporting the LGBTQIA community in the city of Coeur d’Alene.
Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said in a Monday press conference that he received a mix of 149 phone calls, half of which were “hate and threats from elsewhere, including white supremacists, etc.” The other half of the calls were “supportive calls from the Coeur D’Alene community.”
Patriot Front is a white supremacist extremist group that holds hateful public demonstrations and commit acts of vandalization in states across the U.S. as a display of white nationalism.
The 31 Patriot Front members were detained on Saturday after a “concerned citizen” alerted the police about a group of men entering a U-Haul truck wearing masks, armed with shields and wearing patches on their arm bands that read “Patriot Front,” according to officials. Police also located multiple shin guards, a smoke bomb and an “operations plan.”
At the time of their arrest, the extremists were dressed in identical navy blue shirts, khaki pants, beige hats and white face covers. Some of the men also had “Reclaim America” slogans on their shirts.
White described Patriot Front as a “hate group” while addressing false rumors that the individuals arrested on Saturday were anti-fascist demonstrators or law enforcement agents who were pretending to be white supremacists.
“Let me very clear here… These were not law enforcement officers that we arrested,” White stated. “There were members of the hate group Patriot Front. These were not antifa in disguise, nor were they FBI in disguise.”
One of the white supremacists who was arrested was 23-year-old Thomas Ryan Rousseau, who founded Patriot Front after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally took place in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit legal organization that monitors and exposes hate groups across the U.S., has identified Rosseau as a person of interest.
Twenty-four-year-old Michael Kielty, also arrested in Idaho, was charged with a hate crime in 2021 after he defaced a mural of prominent African Americans in St. Louis.
Patriot Front is described by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a white supremacist group that believes their ancestors founded America and “bequeathed it to them, and no one else.” ADL also said Patriot Front is responsible for the “vast majority of white supremacist propaganda distributed in the U.S., representing 80% of all propaganda incidents nationally in 2020.”