Wingnuts Helpfully Threaten To Kill Police After Arrests Of Neo-Nazis Who Planned Pride Event Riot
Police in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, arrested 31 members of a white supremacist hate group Saturday, disrupting an apparent plan to bash heads at a local Pride event. A phone tipster advised police they'd seen the men, “looking like a little army,” piling into the back of a U-Haul van; when police pulled the van over, they found riot gear, shields, at least one smoke grenade, and writings that police said "resembled an operations plan" to riot at Coeur d'Alene's annual "Pride in the Park" event.
Since the arrests, rightwingers on social media have tried to doxx officers from the Coeur d'Alene Police Department and the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, and at a press conference yesterday, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said the police department has been getting phone calls threatening the police from as far away as Norway, possibly from the sort of people Donald Trump would like to immigrate to America.
The police department received 149 phone calls on Monday morning about the arrests, including one from as far away as Norway, White said. He said they were a ”50/50 split,” between local calls of support for the police and anonymous angry calls from those upset about the arrests. [...]
“The other 50%, who are completely anonymous, who want nothing more than to scream and yell at us and use really choice words, offered death threats against myself and other members of the police department merely for doing our jobs,” White said.
Well sure you were doing your jobs, but you aren't supposed to do your job when a hate group plans to bash gay and trans people, especially since Pride in the Park was billed as "family-friendly," which is impossible since only straight white people are supposed to have families.
The Idaho Statesmanalso reports that White declined to say whether the men had been carrying firearms or other weapons, and that he didn't know why the group chose Coeur d'Alene as a site for its riot, or who exactly the riot was meant to target. (Gay people. It was meant to target gay people.)
Also too, the presser was briefly interrupted by an attendee who wasn't actually a reporter, who shouted about the bullshit conspiracy theory that Patriot Front is actually made up of FBI members, a common belief among conspiracy types for whom a hate group can't just be a hate group. White explained, "To be very clear here, these were not law enforcement officers that we arrested. These were members of the hate group Patriot Front.” And no wingnuts believed him, because of course that's what a cop would say.
Patriot Front is actually a splinter group that broke from the neo-Nazi "Vanguard America," which was among the groups responsible for violence at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Founder Thomas Rousseau, who was arrested in Coeur d'Alene, sought to rebrand his faction after a Vanguard America member murdered Heather Heyer by ramming a car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators.
So far, the 31 Patriot Front members have only been charged with "conspiracy to riot," a misdemeanor, although after the arrests Saturday, White said additional charges might be brought.
In my opinion, I would gladly arrest 31 individuals who are coming to riot in our city for a misdemeanor rather than have them participate in some sort of seriously disruptive event, which is exactly what they were planning in the downtown area.
Despite Chief White's caution about ascribing motives just yet, Patriot Front's plans to attack a Pride event reflects the far-Right's growing attempts to roll back the rights and even the existence of LGBTQ people, especially transgender Americans, who rightwing media accuse of "grooming" children simply by existing.
As historian of white nationalist extremism Kathleen Belew noted in a Twitter thread, it shouldn't be especially surprising that a white supremacist group would target an LGBTQ+ event, because
[To] the white power movement and some of the militant right, a host of social issues (abortion, gay rights, interracial contact, immigration, secularism) are all a problem for the same reason.
White power activists have long seen all of these issues as part of an interconnected conspiracy to lower the white birth rate, attacking their race and nation. They see this as an apocalyptic threat.
This is what connects attacks on the black community (Buffalo, Charleston) with attacks on immigrants (El Paso) with attacks on Jews (Pittsburgh) with attacks on Pride (Idaho, SF)
Belew also noted Coeur d'Alene's history as a locus of White Power organizing, from the now-defunct Aryan Nations compound in nearby Hayden Lake to current efforts to recruit white nationalists and anti-government ideologues to North Idaho as part of the so-called "American Redoubt" movement.
While Idaho has plenty of its own armed extremists, some of them in state government, most of the Patriot Front extremists arrested Saturday were from other states. The Spokane Spokesman-Review reports that two of those arrested, Mishael and Josiah Buster, are brothers from Spokane, Washington. One of the brothers, Mishael Buster, 22, can be seen reading announcements during services at a loony rightwing church led by loony rightwing former Washington state legislator Matt Shea. Shea, you may recall, was expelled from the state House Republican caucus after an investigation found he had engaged in domestic terrorism.
Shea is still very active in Washington wingnut circles, and led a "prayer walk" Saturday at the park where the Pride event was held. (Spokane is only about 40 minutes down the road from Coeur d'Alene.) Late that day, he lied about the Patriot Front arrests, claiming on the Facebook page of far-right "Redoubt Radio" that police had "thwarted" an "ambush from antifa." Happily, virtually no one appears to have believed him, as the story hasn't even gotten any traction in rightwing circles.
Also too, the Daily Beast reports that after fellow wingnuts paid his bail, the mom of Jared Boyce, one of the Patriot Fronters arrested in Idaho, threw him out of her house in hopes that he'll get a life and stop being a racist shitbag. Boyce's mother, Karen Amsden, said that her son showed up Sunday after posting bail and told her, "Don’t believe the media, mom. We were just there because they’re grooming kids." She said she gave him an ultimatum:
"You can choose between Patriot Front and your family. And he’s like, "Well, I can’t quit Patriot Front." I’m like, "Well, then you've just chosen. So pack your stuff and get out of my house."
Good call, mom!
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.