Four Patriot Front members scheduled for trial on Monday; warrants issued for four others
March 10, 2023 Updated Fri., March 10, 2023 at 8:14 p.m.
Four members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front are scheduled to appear for a jury trial Monday over their alleged involvement in a planned flash mob demonstration at Coeur d’Alene’s Pride celebration last June.
Forrest C. Rankin, 29, of Wheat Ridge, Colorado; Devin W. Center, 23, of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Graham J. Whitson, 32, of Haslet, Texas; and Cameron K. Pruitt, 24, of Midway, Utah, will appear at the Kootenai County Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. via Zoom. Each are charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor, as are 27 other men arrested with them on June 11.
The Patriot Front members were discovered by police in the back of a U-Haul truck armed with riot gear and a smoke grenade less than a quarter-mile from City Park, where a group of people were celebrating Pride in the Park. The men bonded out that same weekend.
Kootenai County judges have issued bench warrants for an additional four members of Patriot Front who failed to appear at their pretrial conferences.
The most recent warrant was issued for James J. Johnson, 37, of Concrete, Washington, after he failed to appear at his pretrial conference on Feb. 28, according to court records. A warrant was also issued last month for Connor P. Moran, 23, formerly of Spokane, after he also failed to appear in court for a pretrial conference last month. Moran, who went to Shadle Park High School, is now living in Watauga, Texas, according to court documents.
Bench warrants were also issued for Jared M. Boyce, 28, of Springvale, Utah, in December, and Derek J. Smith, 25, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in September. Both failed to appear for their pretrial conferences as well.
“One of the side effects of being in an area that has lots of tourists, we will see people get in trouble in our community fail to appear in court and just not come back to Idaho,” said Coeur d’Alene Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Wes Somerton. “Warrants get put in place, and we never hear from them again. It’s not unique to this group of guys.”
The remainder of the Patriot Front members arrested in Coeur d’Alene last year are scheduled to appear through the summer.
The Patriot Front arrests have taken a little longer than usual to adjudicate, but the Kootenai County court is also rebounding from pandemic-related backlogs over the past three years, Somerton said.
Kootenai County law enforcement officers are expected to testify during the trial on Monday, Somerton said.
So far, only one of the men arrested has resolved his case. Alexander N. Sisenstein, 28, of Midvale, Utah, pleaded guilty to lesser charges last year.
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