COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO: More than 30 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were arrested near an Idaho Pride event. The group was reportedly found crammed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear. The men were seen standing inside the truck, dressed in khakis, navy shirts and beige hats. They also had white hoods covering their faces. Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and arrested them. Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White claimed the group “came to riot downtown.”
All the men were charged with the misdemeanor of conspiracy to riot. Police reportedly received information from locals who said they spotted a “small army” entering the vehicle around 1:38 p.m. The men arrested came from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas. Only one of them was from Idaho, White said.
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White confirmed the men were due for arraignment on Monday, June 13. Authorities discovered that the group planned to riot not only in the park, but in many other downtown areas. Videos posted to social media show the group arrested, the men kneeling on the grass with their hands tied behind their backs. One had “Reclaim America” written on its back.
Both right and #Antifa members traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho today in response to the LGBTQIA+ Pride event. The far-right Patriot Front group has been arrested. Violent Portland Antifa member Alissa Azar, who has an ongoing criminal case, filmed this clip.pic.twitter.com/3cIvsqdZVu
— Andy Ngo 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) June 12, 2022
The men’s vehicle was reportedly stopped by police on Northwest Boulevard near Paul Bunyan. Cops found at least one smoke grenade and some riot gear. They also recovered shields and shin guards from the truck, as well as documents including an “operations plan”. The patches and logos the men wore identified them as members of the Patriot Front.
Who founded the Patriotic Front?
Patriot Front, an American white supremacist, neo-fascist and nationalist hate group, was formed by Thomas Ryan Rousseau, a young man from Dallas, Texas. The group was formed in 2017 and uses images of patriotism, freedom and other traditional American values to promote its ideology.
Thomas is said to have grown up in suburban Dallas, Texas, where he attended Coppell High School. At the time of his enrolment, Thomas was part of ‘The Sidekick’, the school’s student newspaper. He was the personal designer during his senior year. He also contributed to video production and is known to have written various opinion columns for the newspaper.
Thomas was a strong supporter of Donald Trump in the 2016 election. He wrote in an October 26, 2016 column“Trump’s campaign is about more than electing the president. It’s a referendum on American democracy. A simple decision between who really controls this nation, a corrupt establishment that wants to usurp democracy or the American people.”
Patriot Front recruits online and on college campuses with flyers and organizes flash protests. She has committed acts of vandalism on some occasions. The group has techniques such as setting off smoke bombs at protests and chanting slogans like “Reclaim America”, “Life, Liberty, Victory”, “Victory or Death”, and “Strong Borders, Strong Nations”. Patriot Front was formerly known as Vanguard America. However, it changed its name after a man in the group murdered a woman at the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
The group had once issued a manifesto, which said, in several parts, “Those of foreign birth may occupy civil status in lands occupied by the state, and they may even be respectful citizens, but they may not be Americans. The nation is inherited by blood, not by ink. Even those born in America can still be foreign…Nationality cannot be granted to those who are not part of the founding stock of our people and to those who do not share the common spirit that permeates our greater civilization and the European Diaspora… In order to survive as a culture, heritage and way of being, our nation must learn that its collective interests struggle against its collective threats of replacement and enslavement… The damage done to this nation and its people will not be resolved if every problem requires the approval and blessing of the dysfunctional American democratic system. Democracy failed in this once great nation.