NORTH TOLEDO -- A neo-Nazi group now says it will sue to prevent the city of Toledo from restricting its activities. The American National Socialist Workers Party is planning to visit north Toledo later in August, and plans to sue to be able to walk the streets and distribute flyers.
Nearly two years ago, the same group sparked riots in a north Toledo neighborhood. The trouble started October 15, 2005, when the group planned a march through a north Toledo neighborhood, saying black gangs had been harassing white residents. Around noon, the group hadn't even started marching when counter-protesters starting breaking into businesses and setting fires in the area around Woodward High School in north Toledo.
That's when Police Chief Mike Navarre called off the march before it started. In the four hours after that, people turned their anger on police, throwing rocks and bottles at officers, cars, fire trucks, and a county Life Squad.
Police in riot gear responded by lobbing tear gas to break up the crowd. Police arrested 114 people on charges including assault, vandalism, failure to obey police, failure to disperse and overnight curfew violations.
Not wanting a repeat of that situation, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says it will try to prevent any action by the group in north Toledo. "They are not welcome, they are not wanted, their scurrilous hatred is only interested in Toledo because of the publicity they got in the year 2005," said Finkbeiner. The mayor said if a judge forces the city to allow the rally the city will reign in the protestors. He did not go into any details, saying that's what the hate group wants -- publicity.
In a statement e-mailed to News 11, Bill White, leader of the American National Socialist Workers Party said the group will take legal action. In part, it said:
Terry Glazer, the chief executive officer for a group called "United North" says he hopes they'll be kept out of north Toledo, and the even the entire city. "My guess is, in my conversations with the city, they're not gonna allow this group to come in the neighborhood because of the danger to themselves as well as the people of that neighborhood and they'll keep them downtown," said Glazer.
"When something happens, you can either join together or run away. We're not the kind of people that would run away," he added.
Glazer thinks the violent riots may have even helped north Toledo become a stronger community.
"We don't want people to be thinking that the north end is all bad," said north Toledo resident James Mann. "This is a very good community and there's a lot of positive things going on."
Mann says the neighborhood has successfully picked up the pieces since 2005. "We got a lot of positive things in the neighborhood that most people don't even know about," said Mann. "We have a program that is trying to uplift the community instead of bring it down."
"The first time we allowed it to happen in the neighborhoods, we had no experience," said Glazer. "But we learned from that and I think once you learn a lesson, you don't let history repeat itself."
Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.