DENVER (KDVR) — Three suspected white supremacists from Colorado have been arrested in connection with attempting to disrupt a gay pride celebration in Idaho.
The three men are part of an organization called Patriot Front, which is described as a white supremacist and neo-Nazi group.
Police say Forrest Rankin of Wheat Ridge, Nathan Brenner of Louisville and Conor Ryan of Thornton were among the 31 people arrested near the gay pride event. They were reportedly wearing masks and carrying riot gear when they were arrested.
Patriot Front’s goal, investigators say, was to disrupt the family-friendly LGBTQ event near the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The three Colorado men went before a judge Monday to be arraigned. They have all been charged with conspiracy to riot and have been released from jail.
FOX31 attempted to reach them at their homes in Colorado but did not hear back.
Patriot Front active in Colorado
Attorneys for the co-defendants said the group had the right to protest and had not caused any harm. But organizations that track hate groups say Patriot Front has an impact on the community and society.
“This is a direct threat to the safety of individual people. It also impacts the creation of fear amongst these community members of these groups and all community members,” said Rachel Carroll Rivas, senior analyst with Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Anti-Defamation League of Colorado says the organization is trying to attract more extremists to their cause.
“I believe this organization went to a Pride event to try and gain sympathy from political conservatives in our country,” said Scott Levin, director of ADL Mountain States Region.
The ADL said Patriot Front has been active in Colorado and is responsible for distributing the majority of white supremacist propaganda here.
ADL said the organization is responsible for 279 events since 2020 where white supremacist propaganda was distributed.
Denver PrideFest working with police on safety
Denver PrideFest is scheduled to start on June 25.
“We are concerned about the reports from Idaho. Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our community members, volunteers and staff,” said Rex Fuller, CEO of The Center on Colfax.
“We are working closely with the Denver Police Department and other public safety agencies to ensure public safety at PrideFest,” Fuller added.