Cops face death threats after arresting white supremacists

Patriot Front founder Thomas Rousseau waits along the George Washington Parkway near Arlington Cemetery after the group marched on the National Mall on December 04, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
Patriot Front founder Thomas Rousseau waits along the George Washington Parkway near Arlington Cemetery after the group marched on the National Mall on December 04, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo credit (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

From the arrest of 31 men with ties to the Patriot Front hate group Sunday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to the time of a Monday press conference, the police department had received 149 phone calls. Some of them included death threats.

According to Coeur d’Alene Police Department Chief Lee White around half the calls came from locals thanking the police for their work, and the other 50% were “completely anonymous…who do nothing more than to scream and yell at us.”

He said the calls were “often death threats against myself and other members of the police department merely for doing our jobs,” and that “we had a call as far away as Norway,” during a press conference carried by KREM 2 News.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, white supremacists killed more people last year than any other type of extremists.

“If you're wondering how things are going in the aftermath of the Patriot Front arrests in Idaho, neo-Nazis on other social media platforms have started doxxing members of law enforcement in Coeur d'Alene,” said Nick Martin, who reports on hate groups, in a Tweet. “Names, home addresses, phone numbers and photos are being circulated.”

Among those arrested in Idaho include 23-year-old Thomas Rousseau of Grapevine, Texas. He is the leader of the identified white nationalist hate group Patriot Front, according to the Sothern Poverty Law Center. Patriot Front broke off from Neo-Nazi organization Vanguard America following the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in held in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 12, 2017.

“PF was one of a number of hate groups that sought to recast itself as mainstream, patriotic Americans by dressing up their propaganda and rhetoric in Americana,” said the SPLC.

Members of the hate group arrived in Coeur d’Alene, a town of around 56,000 people, inside a U-Haul truck. Previously, NPR reported the region where the town is located – near Spokane, Wash. – has become a gathering place for white supremacists.

Police pulled the truck over at a traffic stop after being tipped off by a citizen who said they saw a group with masks and shields get into the vehicle, according to the Idaho Statesman. The truck was later towed away and police also seized a smoke grenade and riot gear from inside.

People in the group came from Idaho, Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming. White said they had evidently “came to riot downtown,” and had paperwork that appeared similar to a police or military operations plan.

While the men were being arrested, spectators watched and took cell phone videos. Footage cited by the Statesman showed law enforcement “rolling up the rear door of the U-Haul near the Paul Bunyan restaurant to reveal more than two dozen men wearing khakis, blue shirts and coats, white balaclavas and baseball caps.”

As the men were headed into town, there was a Pride event going on. It included booths, food, live music, a drag show and a march.

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan,” per the Library of Congress. “The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Around 100 people protested the Coeur d’Alene Pride event, including Patriot Front members, said the Statesman.

Although local Sheriff Bob Norris has been vocal about overcrowding at the Kootenai County Jail, he said they would find space for the 31 arrestees. They were set to be arraigned Monday.

Featured Image Photo Credit: (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)