Police: 6 Utahns arrested in white supremacist group targeting pride parade
Six Utahns are among the dozens of white supremacist members arrested this weekend near an LGBTQ pride event in Idaho.
Police found riot gear and shields packed into a U-Haul Saturday after arresting 31 members of Patriot Front. Police found the group after a caller reported what looked like a small army at a hotel near an LGBTQ event in Coeur d’Alene.
“This is an absolute textbook example of the way they do stuff. It could be chapter one in their book of how to do a recruitment rally,” said Greg Rogers, a retired FBI special agent.
Rogers knows the ins and outs of these groups. He spent the last 20 years of his career working undercover.
“I lived with different militia groups for years, became members, spent a whole lot of time in Coeur d’Alene,” Rogers said.
He believes the patriot front planned this as a type of recruitment rally.
“They would have lined up around the park. They would have wanted to be seen,” he said. “They’d have probably chanted some nonsense.”
Rogers says the group intentionally did not have weapons with them.
“The worst thing you could do in the world to a militia member is not only to charge, but convict them of a felony and then they can’t possess their weapons which is the most important thing in their entire lives,” Roger said.
Police say the 31 members were booked with suspicion of conspiracy to riot. But Rogers says that was likely their plan, because that charge is hard to convict.
“By the time all this is over with it’s going to be equivalent to a traffic ticket,” Rogers said.
6 of those arrested have addresses here in Utah. Ages ranging from 23 to 35.
- BOYCE, JARED MICHAEL AGE: 27, SPRINGVILLE
- HANEY, BRANDEN MITCHEL AGE: 35, KAYSVILLE
- PRUITT, CAMERON KATHAN AGE: 23, MIDWAY
- SISENSTEIN, ALEXANDER NICHOLAI AGE: 27, MIDVALE
- TABLER, DAKOTA RAY AGE: 29, WEST VALLEY CITY
- WHITFIELD, NATHANIEL TAYLOR AGE: 24, ELK RIDGE
Rogers believes the national headlines give the ego trip those members are looking for.
“These folks don’t have deep intellects haha and that’s the route they always go and you just don’t want to help them,” Rogers said.
Rogers is grateful for the arrests and that no one at the pride event was hurt, but he says the extensive coverage will likely lead to a spike in membership for the Patriot Front.
“I was thinking it would have been more interesting if you just wrote them tickets for not having a permit to set up a counter protest and really downplayed it because that just makes them look as unimportant as they really are,” Rogers said.
Police say all members are to be arraigned tomorrow. Rogers said law enforcement, especially the FBI, always keeps a close eye on these groups and he wouldn’t be surprised to now see them at other pride events throughout the country.
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