Aryan leader fined for obstructing police

The Spokesman-Review/February 11, 1999
By Brian Coddington

Coeur d'Alene - Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler interfered with police trying to investigate a disturbance in front of his property last summer, a jury decided Wednesday.

First District Court Magistrate Barry Watson ignored a request by prosecutors to make Butler spend time in the county jail, and imposed a 10-day suspended jail sentence for the misdemeanor conviction. Butler was fined $150. The judge said the offense did not rise to a violent level.

``As the largest tax-paying church in Kootenai County, I think I'm entitled to a little bit of respect,'' Butler told the judge before he was sentenced.

The Church of Jesus Christ Christian pastor's actions were never disputed -- only the interpretation. Butler and three church members said the 80-year-old Aryan Nations founder walked past officers holding four men at gunpoint last summer. He told the detained men to get up and approached officers standing behind patrol cars parked south of the Rimrock Road driveway.

Officers told Butler and church members Gerald Gruidl and Michael Teague several times to back away or ``we would be shot,'' the men testified Wednesday.

All three continued toward the officers, saying they wanted to know what was going on, and were sprayed with pepper spray.

Prosecutors said Butler's actions hindered officers' attempts to perform their duty. Butler said he only wanted to help.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

Educational DVDs and Videos