Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published November 16 2013
White supremacists arrested in Leith
Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy John Foss said authorities arrested Cobb and Dutton on Saturday afternoon on suspicion of terrorizing. Foss declined to release further details until formal charges are filed.
Leith City Councilman Lee Cook said he was outside his home Saturday with Gregory Bruce, the city’s website administrator, looking for a location to install surveillance cameras due to concerns for his family’s safety since Cobb moved to town.
Within about 10 minutes, Cobb and Dutton approached them carrying a rifle and a shotgun, staying on the street but coming right up to Cook’s property line, Cook said.
“We weren’t more than 10 feet away,” Bruce said.
Cobb, 62, and Dutton, 29, held the guns high and then lowered them, but didn’t speak and did not point the guns directly at the men, Bruce said.
“Dutton, he had the gun in a position where he was ready to shoot,” Cook said. “I just looked right at him and didn’t say a thing and picked up the phone and dialed 911.”
Cobb and Dutton then continued walking through the streets of Leith carrying their firearms with a woman believed to be Dutton’s wife, Deborah Dutton, following with a cellphone camera, Bruce said.
It took at least an hour before the Grant County Sheriff’s Office arrived, Cook said.
“They just walked around like they owned the town,” Cook said. “The whole point was, they’re trying to drive people out by terrorizing to them.”
Bruce said Cobb and Dutton followed a local woman around town with their guns and yelled obscenities at her.
“It’s all intimidation,” Bruce said.
Deputies arrested Cobb and Dutton about 2:45 p.m. at Cobb’s home, said Bruce, who took photos of the arrest and of the men walking through the streets.
Cobb and Dutton were being held in the Mercer County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.
Cook, who stays out of town with his family out of concern for their safety, said citizens are relieved that Cobb and Dutton are in custody.
“For the citizens of Leith, you can actually take a breath and maybe sleep at night,” Cook said.
The intimidation with firearms began Friday when Cobb and his supporters put up signs throughout town with swastikas and sayings such as “Village of the Damned,” Cook said.
Someone was taking photos of the signs when Cobb and Dutton approached him carrying guns, Cook said.
“This is a serious situation,” Cook said. “It’s to the point of bloodshed.”
Cobb, who is wanted in Canada for an alleged hate crime, has been buying lots in Leith and recruiting others with similar views to move there so they can take over a voting majority and turn it into an all-white enclave.
Dutton and his family moved from Oregon to Leith in October and have been living in Cobb’s home, which does not have running water or sewer. Before Saturday’s arrest, Dutton had been out on bond for a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge after he disrupted a Leith City Council meeting in October and was removed by law enforcement.
On Thursday, Cobb received a notice from the city that he has 30 days to install running water and sewer in his home, Cook said.
Cobb told The Associated Press he will comply with the city’s ordinance but he is pursuing a civil rights complaint with the state because he feels he is being unfairly targeted.
The city also recently approved an ordinance to prevent tents and campers from being set up on a lot for more than 10 consecutive days.
Bruce said the city’s legal fund is approaching five figures and encouraged people to continue donating at www.leithnd.com.
“We’re hoping that this is the final nail in these people’s coffin,” Bruce said. “We need to get them out of here.”