Mayor Jack Ford declared a state of emergency this afternoon following a violent uprising in North Toledo that erupted following an aborted march by a group of Nazis.
He issued a citywide curfew starting at 8 p.m. tonight, tomorrow, and possibly Monday.
Mr. Ford said those protesting were mainly male gang members in their 20s. He said the protests were not triggered by race relations but by gang members with grievances.
"We went to talk to them. Most of them were gang members in full colors," the mayor said. "Their anger was based on some long-standing things but also that we had allowed the [Nazi] walk to occur in the first place."
North Toledo descended into chaos for several hours this afternoon after angry crowds who turned out to protest a planned march by a small group of National Socialist Movement calling themselves "America s Nazi Party" erupted into violence.
A mob of at least 500 people threw bricks and rocks at police and vehicles, looted a bar at Central and Mulberry and started it on fire, and overturned a car at a North Toledo gas station and burned it.
There were reports of minor injuries to police and numerous arrests.
The violence started around noon as police were getting ready to escort about 15 Nazis on a march that was supposed to start at Wilson Park and continue on Mulberry Street and Bronson and Dexter Avenues, ending up back at the park.
Because of the violence - which broke out along Stickney Avenue away from the Nazis gathered in the park - police cancelled the march and told the Nazis to leave, which they did.
The violence began dying down around 4:30 p.m., according to Lt.
Frank Ramirez of the Toledo Police Department. But Mr. Ramizez said it was touch-and-go for several hours, and he was concerned about possible violence tonight.
"Originally, it was just crowd control. Then it went out of control,"
he said. "We just had to scramble" to bring in more police officers to back up the already beefed up presence of 150 officers on hand for the Nazi march.
"It was a mob. Obviously, the unexpected happened," Mr. Ramirez said.
He estimated at least 60 percent of Toledo s police force was on duty just in the North Toledo area because of the violence, and the Lucas County sheriff s office also was on hand.
Toledo Police chief Mike Navarre praised his officers, saying they "performed remarkably" and showed a lot of restraint. Before sending in police in force to make arrests at around 3:30 p.m., Mayor Ford and Toledo Fire Department chief Mike Bell approached the mob and attempted to negotiate a compromise. But as they talked, and as the crowd yelled and screamed at them, looters broke into the bar at Central and Mulberry and began taking merchandise.
Mr. Bell eventually began walking back toward a large group of police shaking his head.
"No more negotiating," he said. "We re done. They just set a building on fire."
Chief Navarre said there were upwards of several dozen arrests made but he did not have exact numbers. He added that some police officers and fire fighters were injured in the melee but their injuries were not serious.
The chief said police could have arrested hundreds of people who were involved in incidents of looting, burning businesses, and throwing rocks.
Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.