KOOTENAI Co., Idaho. (WAFF) – Over the weekend, 31 “Patriot Front” members were arrested near an Idaho pride event in Northern Idaho.
Police were made aware of the group when a tipster reported seeing people in riot gear loading into a U-Haul.
Wesley Van Horn, age 34 of Lexington, Alabama, was one of the men arrested on the charge of conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Police Chief, Lee White said in a press conference after the arrest that all 31 men had been charged with conspiracy to riot.
Lexington Police Chief, Auggie Hendershot says Wesley has no criminal history.
“He has never given us as far as the police department any trouble.”
Sheriff Hendershot says he knows the Wesley’s well.
“I’ve known the family, I’ve known his little brothers probably more than him, I’ve never had any issues as far as violence goes out of him.”
According to Jon Lewis, a George Washington University researcher who specializes in homegrown violent extremism, Patriot Front is a white supremacist neo-Nazi group whose members perceive Black Americans, Jewish people and LGBTQ people as enemies.
The group was founded after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
According to the Associated Press, there were people from at least 11 other states including, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas.
Police searched the van that the Patriot Front members were climbing into and discovered riot gear, a smoke grenade, shin guards and shields inside.
Sheriff Hendershot is asking people to stop the violence.
“If people are wanting change, through violence isn’t the way to do it. I don’t believe that doing it through violence is going to take something in a positive direction.”
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