3 Coloradans arrested at Idaho Pride event belong to one of most active white supremacist groups in Colorado

The three Coloradans arrested in connection with an alleged plot to disrupt a Pride event in Idaho belong to one of Colorado’s most active hate groups, Patriot Front.

Police arrested 31 members of the white supremacist group Saturday near an LGBTQ Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The men packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear including shields and shin guards and wore matching masks and outfits that included Patriot Front insignia.

All 31 men — including the group’s founder — were booked into jail on suspicion of conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor.

The three Coloradans arrested in Idaho — Nathan Brenner, a 26-year-old from Louisville; Forrest Rankin, a 28-year-old from Wheat Ridge; and Conor Ryan, a 23-year-old from Thornton — all bailed out of jail after their arrests, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press. None responded to attempts to reach them for comment Monday.

All 31 men are going to be scheduled to appear in person in Kootenai District Court on July 18, Cindy O’Reilly, supervisor of the court’s criminal department, said in an email.

Little information about the three Colorado men is publicly available. None of the three have any criminal record beyond traffic tickets.

Brenner earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 2018 and a master’s degree in quantitative biosciences and engineering in 2021, university spokeswoman Emilie Rusch confirmed Monday. Brenner has not been enrolled at the school since the summer of 2021, she said.

Patriot Front is a rebranded organization that broke off from the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America, said Scott Levin, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States. The man who murdered Heather Heyer at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was connected with Vanguard America.

“People shouldn’t be fooled by the name — these aren’t American patriots,” he said.

Most of the group’s actions center around posting propaganda stickers or flyers, Levin said. Such propaganda has been seen across a wide expanse of the Front Range, he said.

Patriot Front was responsible for 225 of the 279 instances of white supremacist propaganda in Colorado tracked by the Anti-Defamation League between 2020 and 2022, Levin said.

Patriot Front members believe the United States belongs to descendants of white European immigrants and that the country must be taken back from other groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group is explicitly racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic, Levin said.

Recently, branches of Patriot Front have insinuated themselves into other social issues, like abortion. Levin was not aware of other Patriot Front actions at Pride events.

“I think they’re trying to work their way into a more normative, conservative base,” he said.

Patriot Front is one of 18 active hate groups in Colorado, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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