The neo-Nazi group whose visit last month incited the worst rioting in Toledo in decades said it plans to return to the city Dec. 10.
Spokesman Bill White said the National Socialist Movement plans to hold a demonstration against the police and the city for their handling of the group s planned Oct. 15 march, which was canceled before it began but resulted in rioting for several hours afterward.
More than 120 people were arrested after rioters burned Jim & Lou s bar, looted a carryout gas station and other businesses, flipped over a car, and injured a police officer and two firefighters with rocks. Two Blade photographers were also physically assaulted, and a WTVG-13 vehicle was damaged in the riot, which received national attention.
This time, Mr. White said, the neo-Nazis plan to rally on the steps in front of Government Center downtown instead of returning to the north end.
Mr. White said the demonstration would begin at noon and last an hour or two. He said there will be more uniformed members of the National Socialist Movement rally than the last time.
Less than two dozen members showed up for the Oct. 15 march, but the group claims dozens of other members were denied access to the area by authorities. Details for the December demonstration were discussed at a state meeting in Dayton over the weekend, he said.
City and police officials said they only learned of the event yesterday and are trying to confirm the information.
We are looking into it to see what our next step will be, said Mary Chris Skeldon, spokesman for Mayor Jack Ford s administration. We ll have to see what they do, and we ll have to respond.
City officials have met and worked on legal and police response strategies in case the group followed through on its publicly announced intention to return, but she declined to discuss details of the strategies.
Ms. Skeldon inferred in the interview with The Blade the city may consider some sort of legal challenge to the planned demonstration.
In refusing to discuss the city s strategies, she said city Law Director Barb Herring felt strongly that we should present that to the court and not to the media.
Mr. White said Mark Martin, the movement s Ohio unit leader, left a voice mail message with a police lieutenant Monday requesting a permit to hold a rally. He said the group has had a dialogue with authorities, but he was not privy to any conversation.
Ms. Skeldon said the group has not applied for a permit.
Police Chief Mike Navarre said the city has not received any written notification from the group.
Our position is we don t want them to come back period, he said. They re not welcome here, and we don t want them back.
Michael Sullivan, property manager at Government Center a state-owned building has not been contacted by the group.
I don t know that they need to have a permit as long as they keep [the entrances and exits] open and not obstruct, he said. It ll be on a Saturday. The building s closed.
Bob Reinbolt, spokesman for Carty Finkbeiner who ran against Mayor Ford in yesterday s election said regardless of who won the race, the current administration will be responsible for dealing with the group s possible return.
If we should win, we will work closely with Mayor Ford and his public safety team to make sure the situation is addressed appropriately, Mr. Reinbolt said.
Rumors circulated that the group would return to North Toledo last weekend. Mr. White had repeatedly said the group would not say where or when its next event would be held. He said the movement s national commander, Jeff Schoep, decided to announce the Toledo rally.
He wants to make very clear the National Socialist Movement is a lawful and law-abiding organization. We are not trying to provoke lawlessness. To conduct this rally in this manner was the best way to reinforce this impression, Mr. White said.
He said state leaders have been in the North Toledo neighborhood, and national leaders have been talking with people there.
Mr. White said if the group asks for a permit and is denied, it will march through the north end or other parts of the city either on the same day or around the same day.
We are bending over backward to accommodate the authorities in Toledo even when they are not accommodating us, he said.
Terry Glazer, executive director of the Lagrange Development Corp., said he is glad the group is not seeking a rally in the North Toledo neighborhood again. He said he assumes officials will keep the group out of the city s neighborhoods.
I know the Ford administration has checked the legal issues on this, they ve told us that, and will prevent them from marching in the neighborhood, Mr. Glazer said.
At least one juvenile, possibly two, may stand trial as adults for their alleged roles in last month s riot, Larry Kiroff, head of the Lucas County prosecutor s juvenile division, said yesterday.
Seventeen juveniles arrested for riot-related charges were to appear in Lucas County Juvenile Court yesterday. Many cases were continued for another trial date because numerous defense attorneys were watching videotape of their clients alleged criminal behavior for the first time.
Mr. Kiroff said one defendant didn t appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Prosecutors plan to ask a judge today to certify one boy to stand trial as an adult; another request may be filed later.
He echoed the words of Dean Mandros, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor who heads the office s criminal division, who last month said no pleas will be accepted in cases with serious charges and solid evidence.
We take these cases very seriously, Mr. Kiroff said. This is not going to be open season on police.
Blade staff writer Robin Erb contributed to this report.
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