The 21-year-old Genesee man who was arrested with a white supremacist group in Coeur d’Alene over the weekend is a cadet in the Idaho National Guard and a Washington State University ROTC student who had been awarded a scholarship for room, board, books and a monthly stipend.
Winston Durham was one of 31 Patriot Front members arrested Saturday on misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to riot. He was released on a $300 bond the next day.
Authorities allege that the group planned to disrupt an LGBTQ pride event at a downtown park. They had baseball bats, riot shields and other equipment that, according to Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White, indicated some clear “ill-intent.”
Idaho National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Borders said Durham enlisted in the Guard in February 2019.
“His position is somewhat unique,” Borders said. “He was also enrolled in Washington State University’s ROTC program, so basically he’s still on training status. At this point, he’s considered a cadet, not a guardsman or an officer.”
Durham is assigned to a field artillery unit. Were he to successfully complete the ROTC program, Borders said, he would become a National Guard officer.
Saturday’s arrest, however, may have ended that career path before it began.
“We were notified of the arrest on June 13 (Monday),” Borders said. “On June 14, his file was flagged. That’s another way of saying he’s barred from any favorable personnel action while this is underway.”
WSU officials said Durham is listed as a senior.
He was also the recipient of a Minuteman Scholarship, which provides $10,000 per year for tuition or room and board. It also includes $1,200 for books and a monthly stipend of $420.
Scholarship recipients are required to remain active with the Guard, meaning they take part in an annual two-week training camp and train one weekend a month for the remainder of the year.
The scholarship also requires an eight-year commitment post-graduation.
The ROTC Army Cadet Command issued a statement saying it’s aware of the allegations and law enforcement investigation involving Durham.
“Cadet Command has placed Mr. Durham on a leave of absence status pending the outcome of the civilian criminal investigation,” the statement notes. “We take all allegations of misconduct seriously, as such conduct is not in line with Army values.”
Durham is scheduled to be back in Kootenai County court for arraignment Aug. 1.
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