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Leaked documents detail Patriot Front's activity in Coeur d'Alene and North Idaho prior to arrest

Property of the People released more than 1,200 pages of public records detailing the hate group's presence in the city and on the North Idaho College campus in 2021

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Public records from the city of Coeur d'Alene detail the known presence of the Patriot Front in the community one year ago. Patriot Front is a group with white nationalism ties. 

More than two weeks ago, Coeur d'Alene Police arrested 31 members associated with the group from the back of U-haul. Police say the men planned to start a potentially violent riot at a Pride celebration.

On Tuesday, June 28, Property of the People, a non-profit, released more than 1,200 pages of public records from a request filed with the city of Coeur d'Alene regarding the Patriot Front. The documents detail the hate group's presence in the town and on the North Idaho College campus last year.  

The first report mentioning the hate group dates back to May 2021. According to public records, NIC staff started noticing stickers and vandalism referencing the hate group on campus and reported them to the police. Reports of these stickers continued to come in throughout the summer months. One email from a city maintenance worker even says he removed 15 stickers from McEuen Park.

This shows that the city and CDA PD were at least aware of the group trying to establish a presence in Coeur d'Alene last year. But, the records show no indication that police knew about the group's plans to riot on June 11 during the Pride Celebration event.

That said, the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations claims there's been a rise in hate group discussions and presence online in the last two years. Tony Stewart with the task force says they didn't know the plans of the 31 men who ended up arrested from the back of the U-haul. But, they knew something was brewing.

"On social media, there was a discussion particularly directed at the LGBTQ community," Stewart said. "A lot of very offensive comments. Certainly, there were comments on racism as well. And we also saw a growing tendency to attack public education, was saying that they want to interfere with trying to shut down things like study social justice." 

Stewart says the task force recently held a meeting with local leaders asking to rally the community against hate groups. Something similar to what the task force did in the late 90s when the Aryan nation marched in town.  

That meeting led to a series of action items, one of which is a campaign you'll likely see during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The message reads, "Coeur d'Alene Rejects Hate." The task force plans to put that message on 1,000 t-shirts and in the windows of local businesses.

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