Dec 21, 2005

Arrested Protesters Speak Out Against Police Response


Left: Toledo Police pull over car carrying anti-Nazi protesters from Illinois on December 10; photo by historymike

(Toledo, OH) The December 10 neo-Nazi rally at One Government Center was not accompanied by a repeat of the violence and rioting associated with the October 15 rally.

Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre estimated that 700 officers from a wide variety of local, county, and state jurisdictions participated in maintaining order at the second rally at a cost of an estimated $300,000.

Questions have been raised, though, about possible infringements upon civil liberties. Nearly three dozen anti-Nazi protesters were arrested on an assortment of charges.

One of the arrested was Scott Rogers, who traveled with three friends from Illinois to take part in the protest.

“We saw some notices on the Internet that people were meeting at local libraries and then heading downtown,” he said. “We showed up at the West Toledo branch on Sylvania and a police officer told us to leave, and that he could have a paddy wagon there in two minutes.”

Rogers said that several local residents asked them for a ride downtown and climbed in the station wagon the protesters drove in.

“As soon as we pulled out onto Sylvania, a police car pulled us over. He said we had too many people in the car,” he said. “Within five minutes there were over 20 officers on the scene.”

Officers made the group get out of the car and walk into a nearby parking lot.

“We were forced to kneel on the parking lot for an hour with our legs crossed behind our backs,” said Alex Maromyguin, also an Illinois resident. “They tied our hands with plastic restraints that cut off the circulation of my fingers. Between the cold and the plastic ties, it got to the point where I couldn’t even move my fingers. It reminded me of a photo from Abu Ghraib.”

Another member of the group, Rehana Khan, said that the police refused to tell the protesters why they were being detained.

“When we would ask them, they would tell us to shut up,” she said. “A girl from Toledo started talking about her civil rights, and a cop knocked her over and smashed her face in the snow.”

Khan objected to the lack of notice about the temporary restraining order banning protests away from the official rally site.

“We were en route from Chicago when the court decision came down, and never heard anything about this ridiculous order,” she said. “Besides, we weren’t even protesting outside the zone. We left the library as soon as the officer told us to leave.”

Jeremy Hammond, among the seven protesters arrested on Sylvania, said that there are many misconceptions about the protesters.

“There were outrageous media reports – planted by Bill White of the NSM - that we were planning to ‘attack’ the Nazis, and that we were transporting weapons,” he said. “The police seized a can of black spray paint we used for protest signs and a $5 slingshot I bought at Meijer’s many months ago. The idea that we were here for violence is preposterous.”

Rogers noted that the Illinois protesters have been blamed for all sorts of problems.

"Bill White claims on his website that we called him and threatened him, and that we were outside his motel," he said. "The problem is we were too busy being arrested 15 miles from his motel to have bothered him when he claims, and we don't even know his phone number. Some of the Nazi websites also claim we were the ones who bricked the tattoo parlor, which of course we would have had to accomplish while we were in jail."

Another misconception about the group is that they are part of some secret conspiracy, said Rogers.

“We are friends who happen to share a belief that neo-Nazi philosophies of genocide and racism are dangerous and should be opposed,” he said. “We drove here not as members of some organized group but as concerned citizens.”

A local protester, who declined to give her name on record, said that her experience mirrored those of the Illinois protesters.

“I showed up at a local library branch to protest, but people said the police were not allowing any protest there,” she said. “I chose instead to go to the downtown rally.”

When she returned to her car after the rally, police surrounded her vehicle.

“All of a sudden there were eight cruisers surrounding my car,” she said, adding that she believes her car must have been followed from the local library. “They arrested me for disorderly conduct, took me to jail, and impounded my car.”

In the holding cell, inmates were not provided with food, she said.

“Many people had not eaten since breakfast, and the guards said that they do not normally provide meals,” she said, noting that she was not released until 10 PM. “In the meantime, the break room for the officers was right in front of us, and some of the guards made a point of walking past us and showing off their food.”

George Windau, a local labor activist, said he witnessed three protesters get arrested for sitting in a car on Michigan.

"We were turned away from the rally because one of the people I was with had metal studs on his jacket. We decided that since all of us couldn't get in, we would leave," he said. "The car was parked in on Michigan by the public library. They got in their car, and while I was talking on my cell phone, a bunch of police cruisers roared up."

Windau said that he and another protester were not detained, but the three in the car were.

"It was very arbitrary," he said. "The only thing different about the people in the car is they had on anti-Nazi T-shirts, while we did not. The police arrested them for illegal demonstration."

Hammond said that the arrests will also be the subject of protest.

“We plan to hold a short rally in January when our cases come before the court,” he said. “People of conscience should be horrified that these unconstitutional and arbitrary arrests occurred.”

Police Chief Mike Navarre defended the department’s actions.

“We were very pleased with how the rally went on December 10,” he said. “We made it very clear that in the days and weeks before the rally that there would be zero tolerance for criminal behavior.”

Navarre believes that the department’s approach to the second rally was critical to avoiding a repeat of the October violence.

“The zero tolerance policy was very successful. No one was injured, no police officers were injured, and there was no property damage,” he said. “As for individuals who feel they were unlawfully arrested they are certainly entitled to due process, and that is what the court system is for.”

A condensed version of this article also appears in this week's Toledo Free Press.


Do said...

From your post:

Police Chief Mike Navarre defended the department’s actions.

“We were very pleased with how the rally went on December 10,” he said. “We made it very clear that in the days and weeks before the rally that there would be zero tolerance for criminal behavior.”

I'm concerned that pre-emptive panic caused the determination that sitting inside a privately owned vehicle parked on a public street is deemed "criminal" and that no statutory violation had to occur in order to wind up in jail.

If, in fact, any of the people arrested DID engage in a criminal act then they should have been arrested and processed. That's how the law works.

As long as the protesters in question were not inside the perimeter of the 'safe zone' for the rally, and as long as they were not actively engaged in a violation of the court order/injunction, then the city was out of line.

I'm sure as time goes on this will become as clear as mud.

Navarre has taken responsibility for every action/order made that day. I hope that this doesn't get shuffled on to Jack Smith to deal with.

Protection of the public is extremely important. Preservation of constitutional rights is ahead of that.

historymike said...

It is a tough call, Do.

No one (except a handful of violent white supremacists) wanted to see a repeat of October 15. On that front this was a successful day for the city.

However, at least half of the arrests on that day were of dubious legality, in my opinion. None of the three photographers arrested were doing anything illegal, and the seven on Sylvania were guilty of going to the library.

That would be a crime only in 1930s Berlin.

The unnamed protester in the article I know fairly well, and is not a criminal in any sense. She is desirous of anonymity in this story, but wants people to know what happened on December 10. I can say that she is just a concrened Toledoan who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

IsisDC said...

Those kids were set up by infiltrators within the organzations that scheduled those meetings.

Same with that organized attempt to beat up Bill White.

All those kids were mislead, misdirected and arrested as to keep the numbers down at the counter rally.

historymike said...

I disagree about Nazi "infiltrators," Isis, despite what Bill White says.

I aslo disagree that protesters were neccesarily going to "beat up" White and the Nazis.

The word used by the caller was was "welcome," not "attack" as White claims (he got his info from my blog, by the way).

The "welcoming" could have been anything from pickets to eggs to snowballs to street theater.

IsisDC said...

I didn't get the info from Bill White.

I got it from here in DC.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

Oh, sorry, I forgot where you lived, no real coffee there.

historymike said...

Believe what you want to believe, Isis.

liberal_dem said...

I guess that the ACLU will be taking the Toledo Police Department to court to decide this case.

We ought not do blog-justice.

IsisDC said...

Mike, I know what I know.

The Toledo cops had someone "inside" your little groups of counter demonstraters setting those kid up.

Makes a bit more sense than your wacked out theory that the Toledo cops were using high tech spy equiptment to listen in on cell phone calls.

I mean face it, during the riots their tear gas was expired over a year, but now they have high level Homeland security equiptment to spy on anarchists?


No, Sweetie, the cops had people inside those groups setting those kids up to be locked up before the rally to keep the numbers low.

This is not far out, this is not "Bill White" theory, this is fact.

In fact, you were in my hotel room (no kids, nothing happened) when I made the call to DC in the bathroom and had someone start looking into that.

I don't know what your need to keep blinders on for this issue is.

Toledo is one of the kost screwed up cities I have ever been to.

And from what I can see, it is because of the bullshit you all would rather smoke screen your lives with rather than honestly face the problems of your city, the problems within your activist community.
But, most of all the problems of the everyday real people like those in that North Toledo neighbourhood who are being short ended because of the dominance of the KKK infestation, which is one of the biggest embarassaments to our nation, and your wimpy arse refusal to take a real stand against them and would rather try to discredit me, a person who has been a damn good friend to you, than admit that your city has a major problem.

historymike said...

1. Discredit you? Hardly. I have done nothing but sing your praises. I have merely disagreed with you.
2. I have talked with TPD officials, and I stand by my statements. Besides, cellphone monitoring can be done by an idiot with a $100 scanner. I should know; I have heard many a titillating snagged cell call on my Radio Shack cheapie.
3. You are now saying it was TPD who infiltrated. That is something far different than your previous suggestions.
4. I am sorry you dislike Toledo so much. Perhaps you should stay in DC, where the people are so much more enlightened than us hicks.
5. Your last paragraph, "KKK infestation..." makes no sense. Plus, I hardly see where disagreeing about police tactics means I have a "wimpy arse refusal" to see reality (if that is a correct interpretation).

A Midwest Antifa said...

Isisdc sounds a lot more like Bill White every day. I would keep this crazy far far away from me!

These claims that "the cops had people inside those groups setting those kids up to be locked up before the rally to keep the numbers low" is without merit and logically flawed. Mostly Isisdc's claim is about a desire to creat confusion and mistrust between anti-racist activist.

There is no significance to undercover police showing up at a publically announced meetup point like the public library. Did the police want to dispurse people from this location and prevent a march from the north end to downtown? Of course they did. The injunction banning unauthorized protests was for the purpose of seperating the neighborhoods from the neo-nazi rally. The fact that police came to the library and arrested some of those who were there is hardly "a set up".

IsisDC said...

How artful dodging.

I have not countered anything I have stated before.

Your anti-racist activist groups were infiltrated, those kids were set up.

I have been ranting about this for days.

There is no KKK infestation in Toledo??


You and the other city sheep might want to block that from the public, but sorry, I ain't.

And, yes, as pathetic as it is there, when the BS is hitting the fan and the dirty laundry is hanging on th line, I will be there to shoot the images and show the world.

You can try to deny, hide, cover and spin around like a top all you wish.

But, the world needs to know what is really happening there.

And even though your city doesn't believe in freedom of the press, there are "higher ups" who are watching things very closely and the truth will prevail.

IsisDC said...

Antifa*Midwest- My source on my info is not Bill White, and it makes me laugh to see everyone throw down that drop cloth on anyone who challenges the problems within the ARA movements.

My sources are from intelligence gathered by professionals who are trying to fight racist based terrorism.

There, are you all happy that I am putting myself at risk?

Bill White is NOT the source of your trouble.

He is one of the leaders of a dress up Nazi group who all talk up a big game.

There are much worse and more dangerous groups than the NSM, and one of their activities is to infiltrate anti-racist groups and cause issues.

The past case in Toledo with the kids getting set up might not have been this case, as it was a Toledo police situation this time, but it was the case during the riots.

Blowing up Bill White as your smoke screen with not solve your issues.

Taking very careful steps about how you are organizing and planning the actions of your organization might.

historymike said...

1. They are not "my" antiracist groups. I write about what I see and hear.
2. Your KKK comment is now understood. Yes, there are plenty of white supremacist groups more fearsome than NSM, and they are active locally. Your sarcasm is not necessary.
3. I have no interest in "hiding" any truth. If you have information the public needs to know, you know how to pass it along to me. You were here on December 10 and did not pass anything along, nor have you since then, except for vague referencs to "higher ups" keeping an eye on things. There are a hundred other journalists in Toledo if you would rather pass said info on to someone else. Lord knows I have better things to do than get in a flame war.

A Midwest Antifa said...

Regardless whoever you are talking with is telling you information specifically so you can go and spread this information on the internet. The motivation is to create mistrust between anti-racist individuals. I am not going to engage in any further postings with you regarding these matters.

IsisDC said...

Midwest*Antifa- Have fun walking into the fire.


If it wasn't for the violent criminal behaviour of the ARA activist I doubt none of the extreme measures by Toledo would have been taken.

Let us not forget that none of the NSM membership was arrested in Toledo nor did any of our membership engage in illegal activity.

historymike said...

Ah, yes, the standard NSM line of "we're just a bunch of peaceful, law-abiding citizens."

Hard to reconcile with philosophies of genocide, forced emigration, and racial superiority, but nice try anyways, Vonbluvens.

Bill White said...

Two points for any random readers of this blog:

1) There were two groups of anti-racists arrested. One was on Alexis Road planning to attack us at our hotel. The other was on Sylvania Ave, planning to attack the Lucky Duck tattoo shop. The groups referred to in this article was the latter.

2) The group arrested, the "Rise Up Collective", was specifically named in the injunction because the police intercepted email traffic indicating that they were planning not only to attack the National Socialist Movement, but to burn buildings and instigate additional rioting in North Toledo.

Thus, their arrest for violation of the injunction was and is appropriate.

The injunction violated the NSM's right to free speech because we intended to assemble peacefully and lawfully, and there was never any real evidence of anything to the contrary. The only evidence was that NSM Member Mark Martin, who was not in charge of planning the demonstration, had had an argument with Police Chief Mike Navarre.

The injunction did not violate the anti-racist's rights to free speech because there was never any question that the anti-racists were plotting violence. In fact, several of the anti-racists named in the injunction not only attended the hearing, but told the media in the hallway outside the courtoom that the injunction would not deter them from committing acts of terrorism.

Any other argument is deliberately fallacious, as Mr Brooks, who seems to think that lying and sucking up to communists is good for his "journalism" career, knows.

historymike said...

1. Repeating a lie often enough, despite your Nazi training, does not make it reality, Bill. It would be very hard for the arrested Illinois protesters to have been part of tattoo parlor vandalism, since they were in jail for almost 12 hours before the attack. Nice try, though. Goebbels would be proud.

2. I have no knowledge of any specific group engaging in violence or planning to. I did hear rumors, but not tied to any group. You used to blame all this on the ARA and the ISO; I guess Rise Up Collective is your bogeyman of the week.

3. My work as a journalist existed long before I ever heard of Bill White, NSM, or Hal Turner. It will continue long after the aforementioned parties are footnotes. If anything, writing about the neo-Nazi movement has hindered me, because I have spent way too much time on marginal people like Bill White, and not enough on more important issues.