Spokane police arrested two men who were allegedly vandalizing Gonzaga property with graffiti associated with the white supremacist group known as Patriot Front, according to an email sent to Gonzaga staff on Saturday night.
A third person was also involved in the vandalism but was not arrested, the email said. The two men were identified as Joshua R. Plotner and George G. Dugas, Spokane police confirmed.
According to the email, students alerted campus authorities about the white supremacist graffiti on a mural wall, northwest of the Crosby Center, at about 7 p.m. Staff quickly painted over the graffiti, the email said.
Campus security reviewed surveillance footage from the area and within the hour arrested two of the individuals responsible, the email said.
Plotner and Dugas were arrested on suspicion of malicious mischief in the third degree and booked into the Spokane County Jail. They were released at about 8:30 p.m. the same night.
Similar Patriot Front graffiti was discovered on Gonzaga’s mural wall about two weeks before, on Oct. 25, as well as on the east side of the Monroe Street bridge. In a statement to the campus on the following day, Gonzaga President Thayne M. McCulloh affirmed the university’s commitment to combating hate.
“We cannot be complacent in our commitment; we cannot assume that stamping out racism – or any other act or expression of prejudice, be it based on race, ethnicity, sex, faith or religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, age, or veteran status – is someone else’s responsibility,” he wrote then. “We are all responsible, each of us, every day.”
According to the student-run Gonzaga Bulletin, students repainted the wall this past Friday with the message, “We reside on Native land.”
Patriot Front made national headlines in Coeur d’Alene on June 11 after 31 of its members, including its 23-year-old leader, were arrested for conspiracy to riot while en route to a North Idaho Pride celebration. The group is perhaps most well known for spreading patriotic-themed racist propaganda in various cities and for its large flash-mob-style demonstrations.
The trial dates for the 31 Patriot Front members who were arrested in Coeur d’Alene have been continuously rescheduled since September.
The group, which is based in Texas, was sued last month by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for conspiracy to violate civil rights under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 after the group shared images of its members vandalizing a mural in a historically Black community in Richmond, Virginia, in October 2021, on social media.