Idaho jury found five members of white nationalist group guilty of criminal conspiracy to riot at Pride event

Those arrested came from at least 11 states, including Utah.

(Ted S. Warren | AP File Photo) A sign that reads “Coeur d’Alene Rejects Hate” is seen below a Pride flag in the window of the Emerge CDA art gallery July 18, 2022 in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. A Northern Idaho jury found five members of the white nationalist hate group Patriot Front guilty on Thursday, July 20, 2023 of the misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to riot at a Pride event.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho • Five members of the white nationalist hate group Patriot Front were convicted on Thursday of conspiring to riot at a Pride event.

A Kootenai County jury found Forrest Rankin, Devin Center, Derek Smith, James Julius Johnson and Robert Whitted guilty after about an hour of deliberation, news outlets reported.

A total of 31 members of the Patriot Front, including one identified as its founder, were arrested on June 11, 2022 after someone reported seeing people being loaded into a U-Haul van like “a small army” in a hotel car park in Coeur d’Alene, police said.

Police found riot gear, a smoke grenade, shin guards and shields in the van after taking it near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding a Pride in the Park event, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said.

Documents found with the group reportedly described a plan to form a column outside the city park and advance inward “until the obstacles to the approach are removed.” Once “a reasonable level of confrontational momentum had been established,” the column would disengage and proceed down Sherman Avenue.

Those arrested came from at least 11 states, including Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas.

Riot is generally a misdemeanor in Idaho. Conspiracy to riot is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine and up to two years probation. The five men are due to be sentenced on Friday.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct James Johnson’s middle name to Julius and not Michael.

Justin Scaccy

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