On the Site:


Police say men linked to a White supremacist group planned to riot and what we know so far about them

Jun 13, 2022, 5:36 PM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:52 pm

Idaho police officers on Saturday arrested 31 people who are believed to be affiliated with the Whi...

Idaho police officers on Saturday arrested 31 people who are believed to be affiliated with the White nationalist group called Patriot Front, after they were seen gathering near a Pride parade in the city of Coeur d'Alene, police said. (Credit: Kootenai County Sheriff)

(Credit: Kootenai County Sheriff)

(CNN) — When “a little army” of men with shields and other riot gear was spotted near a Pride parade in Idaho on Saturday, authorities soon linked the men to a relatively new White nationalist group and charged them with conspiracy to riot.

“It is clear to us based on the gear that the individuals had with them, the stuff they had in their possession, the U-Haul with them along with paperwork that was seized from them, that they came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said.

Among those arrested was Thomas Ryan Rousseau — the leader of Patriot Front, the sheriff’s office said. In total, 31 people from at least 12 states were arrested and charged with conspiracy to riot. All have been released on bond.

Most of the men arrested had logos on their hats “consistent with the Patriot Front group,” and some had other clothing associated with the White supremacist group, White said.

Here’s what we know about Patriot Front — and what makes it different from other groups:


How did Patriot Front start?


Patriot Front “is a white nationalist hate group that formed in the aftermath of the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia,” the Southern Poverty Law Center said.

“The organization broke off from Vanguard America (VA), a neo-Nazi group that participated in the chaotic demonstration,” the SPLC said.

The rally turned deadly with the killing of anti-racism demonostrator Heather Heyer. Later that month, Rousseau — who led Vanguard America members at “Unite the Right” — rebranded the group’s website and launched a new group called Patriot Front, the Anti-Defamation League said.


What do Patriot Front members believe?


“Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else,” the ADL said.

“Patriot Front justifies its ideology of hate and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ethnic and cultural origins of its members’ European ancestors.”

The group’s manifesto claims those in America who are not of European ancestry are not truly American.

“An African may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American. He is, as he likely prefers to be labeled, an African in America,” Patriot Front’s website said.

“The same rule applies to others who are not of the founding stock of our people, or do not share the common unconscious that permeates throughout our greater civilization, and the European diaspora.”


Who is Patriot Front’s leader?


Rousseau, who grew up in suburban Dallas, founded Patriot Front when he was a teenager, according to the SPLC.

“While working for his high school newspaper, Rousseau frequently wrote opinion columns in support of conservative topics including the controversial ‘campus carry’ law in Texas and North Carolina’s since gutted ‘bathroom bill.’ He was also an ardent supporter of Donald Trump during the 2016 election,” the SPLC said.

“Under Rousseau’s direct leadership, Patriot Front’s Texas chapter is its most active — relying mostly on flyering, banner drops and occasionally demonstrations. When the organization ventures off the internet, its activities are primarily conducted in the dead of night, anonymously.”

After the arrests in Idaho on Saturday, CNN reached out to legal representation for Rousseau but did not immediately hear back.


What are the goals of Patriot Front?


“I think when you look at the past actions of the Patriot Front, they’re varied,” former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok told CNN on Monday.

“A lot of what they do is designed for image — for creating propaganda that they can use to spread their message to recruit more followers,” Strzok said.

“So in the past, what we’ve seen from a lot of their activities (is) not so much intent on engaging in violence as much as engaging in protests. Certainly, hateful speech, for sure, but this is much more a group that’s designed for image and for creating a public spectacle.”

But Strzok said there’s always a key question with such groups: “Is there a trigger point where their intention is to move from simply protesting to violence?”

He said it’s not clear what may have happened at the Pride parade in Idaho.

“The real question in my mind is their intention for what they were going to do that day,” Strzok said.


How is Patriot Front different from other White nationalist or White supremacist groups?


Members of Patriot Front are “comparatively young,” Strzok said.

“A central tactic to Patriot Front is ‘flash demonstrations’ — privately planned and unannounced events that allow groups to promote their beliefs while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash,” the ADL said.

“These flash demonstrations are mainly orchestrated for a quick photo and video opportunity that is then turned into online content.”

And Patriot Front “has declined to participate in large rallies with other hate groups, preferring instead to work with small, local chapters that allow Patriot Front to remain the center of attention while controlling their message and presentation,” the SPLC said.

Strzok said he’s worried the country might be in a new phase of extremism.

“I think there’s certainly a lot of personal grievances out there across America. And what particularly concerns me right now is you see a lot of people — both political leaders as well as some in the media — who are tacitly encouraging not violence, but certainly these extremist beliefs,” the former FBI official said.

“Whether it’s replacement theory, which plays into a lot of the White nationalist propaganda, whether it’s political figures using images of violence, I think that’s encouraging or accepting behavior that in the past we had moved away from,” Strzok said. “So I am worried that people who are inclined to violence … might be driven to violence.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


Officials in Nevada's Clark County released this image, and two others, that they say show an appro...

Jason Hanna and Sara Smart

Officials hoping to identify man found dead in Lake Mead barrel release simulated images of his face

More than a year after human remains were found in a barrel in the receding waters of Lake Mead, Nevada authorities on Wednesday released images they say are an approximation of the dead man’s face, hoping the images will spur the public to help investigators identify the person.

13 minutes ago

IN SPACE - In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Earth as ...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Astronomers discover nearby six-planet solar system with ‘pristine configuration’

Astronomers have used two different exoplanet-detecting satellites to solve a cosmic mystery and reveal a rare family of six planets located about 100 light-years from Earth. The discovery could help scientists unlock the secrets of planet formation.

14 hours ago

A wolverine walks on snow in Montana.
Mandatory Credit:	Mike Hill/Getty Images...

 Rachel Ramirez, CNN

Wolverines receive protection under Endangered Species Act as climate change threatens their habitat

The North American wolverine has officially been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

20 hours ago

FILE - Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court to testify during the Sandy Hook defamation dam...

Nicki Brown, CNN

Sandy Hook families offer to settle for at least $85 million with Alex Jones

The families of Sandy Hook shooting victims offered Infowars host Alex Jones a “path out of bankruptcy” if he pays them a “small fraction” of the more than $1 billion he owes in damages, according to a court document.

2 days ago

Palestinians walk through damaged buildings in Gaza City. (Mohammed Hajjar, Associated Press)...

Mostafa Salem and David Shortell, CNN

Deal reached to extend Israel-Hamas truce by two days, Qatar says

A truce in the conflict between Israel and Hamas has been extended by two days, key mediator Qatar has said, in order to secure the release of 20 additional hostages held by the militant group.

2 days ago

Alex Murdaugh stands next to the witness booth during a break in his trial for murder at the Collet...

Dianne Gallagher, CNN

Alex Murdaugh is set to be sentenced today for nearly 2 dozen financial crimes

Alex Murdaugh – the disgraced former South Carolina attorney serving two life sentences for the murders of his wife and son – is set to be sentenced on Tuesday for nearly two dozen state financial crimes.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Police say men linked to a White supremacist group planned to riot and what we know so far about them