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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Four members of Patriot Front pleaded not guilty on Monday; trial is next

Aug. 29, 2022 Updated Mon., Aug. 29, 2022 at 9:19 p.m.

Police say the group Patriot Front had shields and other gear and were intending to riot on Saturday in downtown Coeur d’Alene.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Police say the group Patriot Front had shields and other gear and were intending to riot on Saturday in downtown Coeur d’Alene. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Four members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front appeared in court on Monday in connection with an alleged plan to riot during a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene in June.

The following pleaded not guilty to criminal conspiracy to riot before Judge Anna Eckhart: Thomas Rousseau, 23, of Grapevine, Texas; Cameron K. Pruitt, 23, of Midway, Utah; Wesley E. Van Horn, 34, of Lexington, Alabama; and James M. Johnson, 40, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota .

The four men were among 31 who were arrested on their way to the North Idaho Pride in the Park event on June 11 when they were discovered by police in the back of a U-Haul truck equipped with riot gear and a smoke grenade, among other items.

Right -wing groups in North Idaho had discussed confronting the Pride event attendees for several weeks leading up to the event on June 11.

Van Horn, who appeared in court on Monday, allegedly told police, “We go where we are needed.”

Rousseau, the group’s leader, founded Patriot Front after it split from Vanguard America, which disbanded in 2017 in the aftermath of the fatal Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. Patriot Front is known for vandalism, racist propaganda and “flash demonstrations” meant to intimidate minorities, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League.

A trial for the Patriot Front members likely will be held in September.

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