Report IDs ‘person of interest’ in CDs

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SANDPOINT — A man trespassed from Lake Pend Oreille School District property after reportedly distributing CDs loaded with racist propaganda is identified in the police report as Scott Rhodes.

The Daily Bee acquired the report from the Sandpoint Police Department this week through the Idaho Public Records Law. While the date, time and name of the school district were redacted from the report, the information was listed in a press release regarding the incident last week.

According to the report, Spencer Smith, SPD's school resource officer, was approached by a Sandpoint High School student around 1:30 p.m. last Thursday who told him about the CDs being left on the windshields of vehicles in the parking lot. Smith discovered 56 CDs left on various vehicles. The CDs were red and black in color with the words "What Are They Hiding From You," and "From your friends at www.redice.tv" printed on them, according to the report. The CDs reportedly contained PDF files of flyers that had been previously distributed throughout Sandpoint in yards and by way of email, as well as other "racist propaganda."

Smith reviewed surveillance footage from the school parking lot, which showed a red Jeep pull into the parking lot and park, according to the report. A person got out of the Jeep and proceeded to walk around the parking lot placing CDs on vehicles. Smith then contacted LPOSD officials who asked that the person be trespassed from school district property for violation of district policy 4140. 

According to the policy, which can be found on the district's website at lposd.org, "The principal has authority to request assistance from law enforcement if any visitor or unauthorized individual refuses to leave school grounds or creates a disturbance. Violation of district policy may lead to removal from the building or grounds and denial of further access to district buildings or grounds."

Smith contacted Rhodes the following day as a "person of interest" in the distribution of the CDs. According to the report, Rhodes denied any involvement in the distribution of the CDs. Smith trespassed Rhodes from district property for one year.

While Sandpoint Police are not commenting on the incident, Chief Corey Coon said a trespass order is a warning not to enter private property. If an individual violates a trespass order, they can be charged with a misdemeanor.

The flyers referred to in the police report began circulating earlier this year, falsely representing the views and policies of Mayor Shelby Rognstad. The flyers reportedly contained false, inflammatory statements in quotes that were made or authorized by the mayor, officials said at the time.

One of the flyers argues African-Americans will ruin Sandpoint because of their genetic inferiorities, while another posits that Jews are behind a campaign to purge the white population through interbreeding. Other flyers target members of the task force and the local media as traitors, degenerates and liars who seek to dismantle western civilization.

Rognstad was also the target of an automated phone message during the 2016 mayoral election. The "robocall" branded Rognstad as a feminist intent on purging blue collar Caucasians in Sandpoint in favor of low-income minorities. A mass email circulated as well, depicting Rognstad in a Nazi gas chamber with Pepe the frog in a Nazi helmet pushing the button.

The website on the discs, redice.tv, was founded in 2003 by a Swedish man named Henrik Palmgren. According to the website, Palmgren "covers politics and social issues from a pro-European standpoint." According to Wikipedia, the website covers a "wide variety of content, including white nationalism, anti-semitic conspiracy theories, paranormal topics and philosophy."

Redice.tv picked up an article in February 2016 titled, "So it begins here: U.S. city overrun with criminal refugees." While the article focused on Montana residents protesting refugee resettlement in their communities, the author detailed a Sandpoint City Council meeting regarding a local refugee resettlement resolution.

In the article, the author wrote, "In Sandpoint, Idaho, City Council members voted last Wednesday to withdraw a resolution supporting refugee resettlement, bringing an end to a heated, month-long debate over whether that was a wise move." According to the article, Rognstad said the resolution was intended to restate Sandpoint's commitment to "human rights," and quoted him as saying, "This resolution has only served to divide us and this community."

While it was posted to redice.tv, the article originated from wnd.com. WorldNetDaily is described as a "politically conservative" American news and opinion website.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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