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2 men accused of vandalizing Washington mural also linked to Idaho pride event incident

Idaho

COEUR D’ALENE (Idaho Statesman) – Two men accused of vandalizing an Olympia, Washington anti-hate mural in October were also arrested in North Idaho on suspicion of conspiring to riot at a pride event.

The city of Olympia announced the men’s arrests on Monday and noted they have known connections to Patriot Front, a white nationalist hate group. KING 5 TV reported their connection to the Idaho Pride event on Wednesday.

RELATED | 31 Patriot Front members arrested near Idaho pride event

Citing court documents, KING 5 reported Colton M. Brown and Spencer Simpson were identified on videos of the June 11 Idaho incident. That day, police in Coeur d’Alene arrested 31 masked Patriot Front members in the city’s downtown, The Idaho Statesman reported.

RELATED | Patriot Front leader among those arrested near Idaho Pride

Simpson attended a hearing in Olympia municipal court on Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor crime of aiding and abetting graffiti, according to KING 5.

Brown did not attend his hearing, so a judge issued a warrant for his arrest, according to KING 5. He was charged with the same crime.

Neither of them have criminal convictions in Washington state, according to KING 5.

RELATED | Local man allegedly involved in white supremacist group arrested in Coeur d’Alene

The Olympia mural covered the front of a Fourth Avenue building that has since been demolished. It was created in 2014, in part in response to violent attacks outside Jake’s, downtown Olympia’s only gay bar.

The two men are accused of using stencils to spray paint “Patriot Front” over the mural. City staff and volunteers repainted the mural soon after.

RELATED | Mom agonizes about how to reach her son, a man with a Buddha tattoo who turned to hate

A new affordable housing project has been planned for the site of the demolished building. In the meantime, the mural has been kept in storage.

It’s unclear if and when the mural may return, but there’s an active petition to bring the mural back. The petition also calls for several other Patriot Front members to be charged with crimes related to defacing the mural.

On Monday, Olympia Police Chief Rich Allen said his department is working to identify others involved.

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