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Lucky break helped in Idaho arrests linked to white supremacists, but more monitoring needed, experts say

Lucky break helped in Idaho arrests linked to white supremacists, but more monitoring needed, experts say

It took a tip to 911 from a 'concerned citizen' to set off Saturday's mass arrest in Idaho of 31 men affiliated with the white supremacist group Patriot Front.

The arrest of 31 men affiliated with a white supremacist group at a Pride event raises questions over whether the federal government is doing enough to monitor hate-based gatherings that could spill into deadly violence, experts warned.

It took a tip to 911 from a "concerned citizen" to set off Saturday's arrest in Idaho of the men affiliated with Patriot Front, who police say were spotted in a hotel parking lot dressed like "a little army," piling into a U-Haul less than a quarter-mile from the "Pride in the Park" festivities.

During a news conference Monday, Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said, "We likely stopped a riot from happening downtown."

But multiple law enforcement experts told NBC News that it was concerning that the group assembled nearby and, if not for the lucky break of the tipster, may have caused bloodshed.

"The manner in which these arrests were made reflects the long-standing problems in the way the FBI and the DOJ deprioritize white supremacist crimes and fundamentally misunderstand the violent element within how the white supremacy movement operates," Michael German, a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, said referring to the Department of Justice. He is a former undercover FBI agent who retired in 2004.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/lucky-break-helped-idaho-arrests-linked-white-supremacists-monitoring-rcna33479


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