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Experts: Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric could galvanize extremists

Patriot Front Arrests
Posted at 1:40 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 16:58:09-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Experts warn that extremist groups may see anti-LGBTQ rhetoric by influencers as a call to action.

Sophie Bjork-James is an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University and an expert on the white nationalist movement in the U.S.

She says research shows there is a clear path between normalizing anti-LGBT sentiment in Statehouses and having extremist groups take hateful actions.

Thirty-one members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on Saturday and charged with conspiracy to riot.

Police say the men planned to riot at a pride event.

At a news conference, Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said, "They came to riot downtown."

All 31 men were charged with conspiracy to riot.

Evidence collected in the van by police included riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields.

A tipster called police about the U-Haul, telling law enforcement that "it looked like a little army was loading up into the vehicle" in the parking lot of a hotel.

The truck was soon spotted by officials who pulled it over.

Lawmakers in Idaho, Florida and elsewhere have recently suggested without evidence that members of the LGBTQ community are harming children.