The man who leads operations for the white supremacist group Patriot Front in Alabama was convicted Friday of conspiracy to riot in Couer d’Alene, Idaho.
Wesley Van Horn, 35, of Lexington, Alabama, is the “Network 6” director for Patriot Front overseeing Alabama and portions of Tennessee and Georgia. He led the group’s first in-person protest in the state at a pride picnic in Prattville in July.
According to the Couer d’Alene Press, Judge Mayli Walsh sentenced Van Horn to 180 days in jail, but all of those days were suspended outside of two days already served in jail after the arrest.
“I hope you appreciate what a big deal this is to this community and what a disturbance this has been in Coeur d’Alene,” Walsh said.
Walsh additionally imposed a $1,000 fine, subtracting the $300 in bail money already paid, and Van Horn will not be able to come within 500 feet of City Park, where they planned for a riot there.
Van Horn will serve unsupervised probation. If he violates any portion of that probation agreement, Van Horn could be sentenced up to the maximum of one year in jail.
The charges stem from a June 2022 arrest of 31 Patriot Front members after police received a tip about the “little army” loading into a U-Haul truck before the event. The arrest included Patriot Front leader Thomas Rousseau.
Five other members of the hate group were convicted last month, and another member was tried and convicted concurrently with Van Horn.
During the trial, Van Horn took the stand in his defense.
“My intent that day was to peacefully assemble with my brothers and stand in opposition of what was going on in the park,” he said.
Documents seized by police noted that the group wanted to establish a “confrontational dynamic” at the event. Van Horn testified the shields used by the group are to bring visual attention as well as protect against physical harm. Co-conspirator Kieran Morris also had a smoke canister.
Deputy city attorney Ryan Hunter said the group came ready for a fight.
“They came dressed as a riot squad because that’s what they intended to be,” Hunter said.