Group allegedly affiliated with Patriot Front had protective gear and detailed operational plans, police say


Among the items seized in the arrest of 31 men who were piling into a U-Haul van were documents from the group’s leader, Thomas Rousseau, outlining the hate group’s moral intentions, and an operational plan, such as detailed in a probable cause affidavit filed Monday in Kootenai County District Court.

“(A) document was typed and stated that the group was there to speak out against the moral depravity that allows events like this to happen,” wrote Coeur d’Alene police officer Alan Gilbert. “There was also a typed organizational document outlining call locations, major checkpoints, drill times, prep times and viewing windows. There was also GPS coordinates of a drop point. with two back-up plans.”

According to Gilbert’s probable cause statement, the group’s plan was intended to “antagonize and cause disorder” and outlines an exit strategy to be implemented “once an appropriate amount of time and confrontational dynamics have been established. established”.

Only two men interviewed by police openly admitted to being part of the Patriot Front, an officer said.

Items taken into evidence from the van truck and another vehicle suspected of being associated with the group included “shaped metal shields, flags on abnormally long metal poles and voice amplification type devices”, according to the affidavit. A smoke bomb/grenade was also recovered.

In addition to being similarly dressed in khaki cargo pants, navy T-shirts adorned with Patriot Front patches and face masks, hats and sunglasses, several of the men hid “an insert of hard plastic type, inside the hat, similar to a hard hat worn by construction workers,” the statement read. Several men were wearing plastic shin guards and other protective gear and others were wearing tactical medical kits, radios, cameras and digital recording devices.

“The ornate gear was similar in nature to our law enforcement riot gear used when we anticipate a physical altercation,” Gilbert wrote in the court document.

CNN contacted the Patriot Front and people suspected of being associated with Rousseau, but did not hear back. CNN has also been unable to identify legal representation for Rousseau at this time.

The men were released after posting bail, online court records and inmate lists are showing, and are due back in court at a later date. Most are from out of state, including Rousseau, who is from Texas, according to the affidavit.

His next court appearance is scheduled for August 1, according to online court records.

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The Patriot Front believes its white ancestors conquered America and “bequeathed it to them”, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Members espouse fascist and anti-Semitic beliefs, which they propagate through propaganda campaigns, the ADL says.

The Texas-based group was formed following the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., when members of the white supremacist group Vanguard America broke away to form their own organization, according to the ADL.

The 31 men were arrested after someone saw them gathering near a Pride parade and called 911 to report that a group dressed as a “little army” was getting into a moving truck.

The group was heading to a Pride in the Park event at the Coeur d’Alene City Park, police said. The event included a pride march and performances by local musicians, dancers and drag artists.

Local and state police were outnumbered and on high alert Saturday because they wanted to “make sure this event goes ahead safely,” Mayor Jim Hammond told CNN’s New Day on Monday.

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Andy Rose and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.

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