A Coeur d'Alene man and reputed racist remains in jail on $50,000 after appearing in court on a hate-crime charge Monday.
Joel Townsend Diekhoff, 29, an associate of local Aryan Nations member Jerald O'Brien, was arrested Saturday after Demetrius K. Lee, 39, said a white man with several Aryan tattoos yelled slurs and threatened him for walking in front of his house near South 19th Street and East Mullan Avenue. Lee said he was on his morning walk to Sanders Beach and has lived in the area for six years.
Lee said the man, who police identified as Diekhoff after interviewing witnesses, came out of the house with three other men to "beat him up."
Lee ran to his friend's house and got a baseball bat, police said, then returned to the area and had a heated conversation with Diekhoff. He then left and called the police.
Diekhoff was holding his baby daughter in his arms when he confronted Lee, police say.
Coeur d'Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood said Diekhoff was a suspect in a battery investigation last November that never led to charges after police heard reports that he beat a man who refused to chase after a black man with him and O'Brien.
The alleged victim, William Moore, said he was staying with O'Brien because of his Aryan ties when the men were outside O'Brien's house on Thanksgiving Day and yelled "White Power" at two men who were walking by. One of the men said he was black, and Diekhoff ran after him as O'Brien followed, according to a police report.
When they returned, they attacked Moore and struck him several times in the head, saying he was angry Moore hadn't backed them up. Moore tried to superglue his head wound but went to the hospital the next day.
O'Brien told police he'd kicked Moore out of his home because "he couldn't be a true Aryan if he would associate with members of the other churches," according to the police report.
"He called members of other churches 'the enemy' and said there was only one true church.' He then almost immediately calmed down," according to the report.