Left: Bill White listens to Judge Osowik's decision
(Toledo, OH) Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Osowik, citing a “compelling government interest for maintaining peace in the neighborhoods,” granted the city of Toledo a temporary restraining order and injunction against members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and counter-protest groups.
The action will limit demonstrations to the area near One Government Center.
Police will now be able to arrest groups who demonstrate outside the official rally areas.
Bill White, a spokesperson for the NSM as well as a named defendant in the case, took issue with the court’s decision.
“This whole injunction is a fraud upon the court based upon a denial of due process rights,” said White. “NSM members are not committing crimes in Toledo neighborhoods, yet we are the ones being singled out for police action.”
Speaking for a coalition of counter-protesters was Luke Massie, who said plans for tomorrow’s rally have not changed.
“We don’t believe racists should be allowed to organize militias for racist attacks in Toledo,” he said of the NSM. “The people of Toledo are overwhelmingly in support of standing up against this rally.”
The court testimony brought to light one of the reasons why the city sought the emergency action. Police Chief Mike Navarre testified that NSM member Mark Martin, of Covington, OH, made statements about the groups plans to deviate from the rally plan.
“Martin indicated to me that if things weren’t done the way that he wanted, he would march down the streets,” said Navarre. “He wanted us to separate the different groups of counter – protesters into separate zones. If the counter-protesters were not separated, then the NSM would march through the neighborhoods.”
Navarre also testified that intelligence gathered by federal authorities indicated a strong likelihood of fires being set in abandoned houses, as well as a strong likelihood of an organized response by Toledo gangs if the NSM marched into neighbors.
Violators of the court order may be found in contempt of court, and can be fined up to $25,000 a day for their offense.