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Police in Idaho are getting death threats after arresting Patriot Front members

Law enforcement detains 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front after they were removed from a U-Haul truck near the LGBTQ+ community's "Pride in the Park" event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on June 11, 2022.
Law enforcement detains and arrest 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front on suspicion of conspiracy to riot after they were removed from a U-Haul truck near the LGBTQ+ community's “Pride in the Park” event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, June 11, 2022. Jim Urquhart/NPR

Following the arrest of members of a white nationalist group called the Patriot Front this weekend, members of the Coeur d'Alene Police Department are getting death threats.

That's according to police chief Lee White who spoke to media during a press conference Monday.

White said the department received more than 100 calls to their office; half were applauding officers for their work, and the other half called to bash police for arresting the Patriot Front members. One call came all the way from Norway.

The arrest of the 31 group members happened on Saturday near a Pride event in the city. The men were found packed into a U-Haul, and came from at least 10 other states.

White previously said the information and gear collected from the U-Haul indicated these men were preparing to riot downtown. He said Monday that there was a clear level of preparation that "you don't normally see everyday." Officers were able to understand immediately this group had "ill intent" planned, he said.

White applauded the actions of the unnamed, concerned citizen that called police as soon as they witnessed these men entering the U-Haul truck Saturday. This person "prevented a riot from happening," he said.

New details of the case are still scarce as police are still investigating, White said. Body-worn camera footage from police and other details will be released at a later date, he said.

The city's Mayor Jim Hammond reassured the public that Coeur d'Alene is a welcoming, safe, and accepting place.

"We are the same city we were last week," Hammond said. "We are not going back to the days of the Aryan Nations."

This is in reference to the white supremacist hate group had its headquarters in Idaho until at least 2001. Other extremists groups havemade themselves known in some parts of the state.

During Saturday's Pride event, other groups gathered nearby to protest the event. An anti-LGBTQ group was gathered that same day to pray and were attended by by affiliates of the white nationalist America First movement.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.