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Wasatch County

Midway man among group arrested in Idaho near Pride event

Patriot Front arrests June 22.jpg
Jim Urquhart
/
NPR
Members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front were arrested on June 11th in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho near a Pride rally. They were charged with conspiracy to riot.

A Midway man was one of 31 people arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho over the weekend and charged with planning to riot.

Thirty-one members of a white nationalist group called Patriot Front were arrested last weekend after they were found packed into a U-Haul truck with riot gear. Police determined they were headed to a pride event in Coeur d’Alene.

Among them was 23-year-old Midway resident Cameron Pruitt. Pruitt was later released from jail in Idaho on bond. He was one of six Utahns arrested in the incident.

According to the Coeur d’Alene police department, there were no firearms in the van although there was a smoke grenade. All the men arrested were charged with conspiracy to start a riot, which is a misdemeanor.

Pruitt’s prior criminal record includes an arrest in Texas in 2020 on charges of criminal mischief. That incident involved Pruitt placing stickers linked to Patriot Front on government property. Efforts to reach Pruitt were unsuccessful.

Local law enforcement officials told KPCW this week that the Patriot Front hasn’t presented problems here.

Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby said his office has not had any involvement with either Pruitt or Patriot Front.

Sandra Barker is with the FBI field office in Salt Lake City, which covers Idaho, Utah and Montana. She said the FBI doesn’t investigate groups based on protected speech or ideology. Its focus is on people who commit or intend to commit violence that constitutes a federal crime or threatens national security.

Barker said the FBI would get involved if the Coeur d’Alene police investigation points to any federal violations.

Captain Andrew Wright of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said his office doesn’t have specific knowledge of any Patriot Front activity in Summit County.

"The Department of Public Safety, they have a statewide intelligence analysis center, it's called the SIAC. That pushes out a lot of good information for law enforcement, they're constantly monitoring all sorts of different avenues of information to make sure that we're doing our best to keep all of our communities safe.”

According to Wright, Sheriff Justin Martinez has made a big effort to diversify the Sheriff’s office in the last seven years, which has included hiring members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“And so our community can be, you know, be assured and feel comfortable knowing that we do have deputies out on the streets that are serving our community, who come from various backgrounds, and when it's Pride Month, for across the country, and the people of the LGBTQ+ community are celebrating, being able to be who they are to live authentically. You know, here in Summit County, that is important. And it's important to us here at the sheriff's office.”

On Monday, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White issued a statement saying his department has received death threats since making the arrests.

Police in Idaho said they are still investigating and weighing other potential charges. Those arrested will appear in court at a later date.