2005 Toledo Riot

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Riot police in Toledo, OH prepare to move against protesters on 15 October 2005

The 2005 Toledo Riot, on October 15, 2005, occurred when the National Socialist Movement (NSM), a Neo-Nazi organization, planned a march to protest African-American gang activity in the North End of Toledo, in the U.S. state of Ohio. The appearance of the group sparked a four-hour riot by elements within the assembled protesters, and caused a citywide curfew to be implemented for the remainder of the weekend. The anti-fascist organization Anti-Racist Action helped to assemble the counter-demonstration.

Neo-Nazis plan to march through Toledo's North End[edit]

Several weeks before the rally, members of the National Socialist Movement went door-to-door through a North Toledo neighborhood, and discussed with residents the possibility of addressing gang activity. The NSM claimed that a local resident invited the group, but the named individual refuted this claim, saying that the group misrepresented themselves and that he did not invite the NSM.[1] The NSM planned to march through the North End of Toledo, Ohio.

The group stated that the purpose of the march was to protest alleged gang activity in the area. Approximately fifteen supporters of the NSM gathered including Commander Bill White under police guard in preparation to march.[2] They began an impromptu rally at the staging point for the march, shouting insults and other racial slurs at black members of the community.[2]

Rally turns to rioting[edit]

Responses had been organized during the week leading up to the rally. Neighborhood residents, the Toledo chapter of the International Socialist Organization, local anarchist organizations, and the radical Anti-Racist Action groups from other cities coordinated in planning a massive protest aimed at forcing the NSM rally to be cancelled.[3] After forcing police to cancel the rally, the protesters directed aggression against the police in response to random arrests and police brutality. This set off a four hour conflict between over 600 community members and the Toledo police force. Police cancelled the march as the situation between police and community members escalated. Members of the NSM and its supporters were told to leave town with a police escort.[4]

While the neo-Nazi group had already left the park, most of the community members and protesters were unaware of this.[2] Eleven police personnel suffered injury, and one female paramedic suffered a concussion after a brick smashed through the side window of her vehicle, hitting her in the head. Police, media vehicles and emergency vehicles were all targeted. A number of stores in the community were targeted by the crowd, including a local bar, believed by many locals to be a regular hangout for police and politicians, which was broken into and set on fire.[4] A local gas station was also looted. Police arrested more than 120 rioters, most of whom were residents of the North End. According to the mayor, a number of protesters were wearing gang colors.[4]

Although disturbed by the intentions to march, the city's mayor, Jack Ford, was extremely critical of the riot, saying that it was "just what they [neo-Nazis] wanted." [5] Ford declared that a state of emergency existed, and the mayor then imposed an 8 pm curfew on the entire city.[4] Police officers from several jusrisdictions, local SWAT team members, and private security firms patrolled the North End that evening.

Neo-Nazis return for rally[edit]

The NSM were granted permission to rally at the Government Center in downtown Toledo on December 10, 2005. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was responsible for security at the Center. The stated purpose of the rally was to protest how the city dealt with the previous planned march. Approximately 45 people participated in the one-hour rally, separated from 170 observers and counter protesters by approximately 700 law-enforcement personnel.[6] The assembled police forces - which included local, state, and federal officers - had at their disposal such ancillary support as mounted patrols, armored personnel carriers, and rooftop snipers.[7] In addition, a last minute injunction was granted by Judge Thomas Osowick on December 9, barring public gatherings of any kind for the following two weeks.

Aggressive policing of the counter-protesters, which included the reported use of police Tasers, resulted in a total of 29 arrests.[8] Three of those arrested were photojournalists covering the event.[9] People entering the rally zone, including members of the media, were subject to searches, and police engaged in videotaping all persons near the rally site for what was termed as "intelligence gathering for future investigations."[7] The majority of arrests occurred in the police controlled observation area; however, several people were arrested near public libraries for violating a court order banning unauthorized protests.[8] Local attorneys and civil rights activists protested the unusually strict police tactics, summed up by one attorney: "What you have in Toledo is martial law for a day."[8]

None of the neo-Nazi participants in the NSM rally were arrested, and they were escorted from the rally site in buses protected by police.

In retaliation, a local tattoo parlor that had allegedly been used as a base of operations for the NSM rally was vandalized later that night. The front window was smashed out with a rock marked with the anarchist circle "A" symbol. The owner of the parlor blamed the attack on a group called "The A Project"[10]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Those Who Watched the Mess Unfold Are Trying to Make Sense Of It". WTOL. 2005-11-17. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "Caught in the Clash". Toledo Free Press. 2005-10-19. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  3. ^ historymike: Extreme Showdown? Groups Lining Up To Confront Nazis In Toledo
  4. ^ a b c d "Violence in North Toledo after Nazi march canceled; mayor declares curfew". Toledo Blade. 2005-10-19. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  5. ^ "Planned neo-Nazi march sparks violence". CNN. 2005-10-19. Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  6. ^ "Nazi rally ends with no major violence". Toledo Blade. 2005-12-10. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  7. ^ a b "Nazi rally sparks protest, prayer". Toledo Blade. 2005-12-11. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  8. ^ a b c "Police to probe use of Taser on woman at neo-Nazi rally". Toledo Blade. 2005-12-13. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  9. ^ "Three Photojournalists Arrested Covering Nazi Rally". National Press Photographers Association. 2005-12-11. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  10. ^ "Toledo Business Vandalized". Retrieved 1 March 2008. 

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