‘We need a peaceful and loving community’: Coeur d’Alene community reacts to white nationalist group arrests

COEUR D’ALENE, ID. — People in Coeur d’Alene say the events from Saturday’s arrests do not belong in North Idaho.

Thankful that no one was hurt, they say the fight for justice must continue in North Idaho and across the country.

“It’s kind of terrifying and horrifying for me,” Reynaldo Dundoodie, who goes by Mulan, said.

While enjoying a meal with friends, Mulan wonders why people have so much hate in their hearts.

31 members of a white nationalist group, Patriot Front, were arrested near Pride in the Park, in Coeur d’Alene, on Saturday and charged with conspiracy to riot. Mulan didn’t attend the event because of the weather but has attended other Pride events. On Sunday following the arrests, he’s thankful things didn’t get worse because police were able to stop the vehicle before it arrived at the park.

For Mulan, Pride means having the freedom and equality to be themselves. People being themselves could have been in danger if the group made it to their final destination.

The 31 members, including the founder of Patriot Front, were arrested in a U-Haul with shields and other riot gear in their hands. The Southern Poverty Law Center classified the group as a hate group that started in 2017, following the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Coeur d’Alene leaders say these members are not welcome in their community.

“If you’re intending on coming to our community and commit violence, this is the wrong place to be,” Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Tony Stewart said.

Stewart has spent the last 40 years getting rid of hate groups in North Idaho. Although Stewart and his team were surprised of the large group’s numbers, they say growing hate groups are a concern across the country. They’re working to find new ways to educate the community and stop more events like this from happening.

Law enforcement was on heightened patrol during the Pride event in part because they’ve dealt with similar situations for decades. They were prepped and ready to stop any kind of riot and violence.

North Idaho is coming together to fight against injustice and bigotry, and everyone is thankful no one was hurt. Now, they’re even more committed to seeing justice prevail.

“We have to fight for our freedom and equality,” Mulan concluded. “We need a peaceful and loving community.”

The 31 members all bonded out of jail after their arrests. 4 News Now will continue to update this developing story.

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READ: All 31 arrested near Coeur d’Alene Pride event released on bond