Six white supremacist members pleaded not guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to riot in relation to a gay pride event in Idaho.
Police responded to a tip on June 11 that 31 members of the neo-fascist hate group “Patriot Front” were arrested with riot gear after being seen loading into a U-Haul at the same time as the pride event Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Patriot Front is a group that perceives Black Americans, Jews, LGBTQ people as enemies.
Michael Kielty, an attorney for one of the members, said that the Patriot Front case could be a First Amendment issue due to the group not having a reputation for violence.
“Even if you don’t like the speech, they have the right to make it,” Kielty said.
Coeur d’Alene police found riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields.
The 31 people arrested were not just from Idaho, but also Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
Patriot Front is known for showing up to events, marching in columns, and wearing blue- or white-collared-shirt uniforms as a representation of their strength.
Kootenai County, which includes the city of Coeur d’Alene, has a history of white terrorists that dates back to the 1970s.