National Socialist Movement plans November rally
Denied a permit, the National Socialist Movement plans to hold rally during MU's football game against Kansas State.
Sep. 09, 2008
Despite being denied a permit to hold a parade, a local neo-Nazi group said it still intends to hold a rally in Columbia during an upcoming MU home football game, but police said they are trying to reach an agreement with the groupw.
In a letter addressed to Interim Columbia Police Chief Tom Dresner, the mid-Missouri chapter of the National Socialist Movement stood firm on its right to march in Columbia on Nov. 8.
The Columbia Police Department denied the group's request for a parade permit last week because MU is scheduled to host a home football game against Kansas State on that day. The department said in a news release that the two events would overburden police resources on that date.
"We do intend to come on Nov. 8 with or without a permit," NSM national director Jeff Schoep said in the letter. "It is our legal right, and we can do a walking picket on city sidewalks according to law."
Schoep said the group would seek legal injunction against the City of Columbia if the group was not allowed to march.
"If the NSM is forced back into the courts to challenge a violation of our rights once again, I will free up every last dime we have at our disposal to hire the absolute best attorney we can find in the state of Missouri," he said in the letter.
Schoep then cited instances when the group had taken legal action against the cities of Orlando and Toledo, Ohio, and had earned a permit to march after originally being denied one.
Representatives from the NSM met with CPD on Monday as part of an appeal to the denial of their request.
According to a statement released by Dresner on Monday, discussions are continuing between the NSM and the department, and Dresner said it would not comment on the issue until they are "recontacted by the NSM regarding their intentions" and an agreement is reached between the two parties.
Lt. Charles Wilson, leader of the NSM's stormtroopers division, estimated that there were already 120 people who had booked plane tickets or were planning to drive to the event on Nov. 8.
The group's goal with the march is to protest illegal immigration, Wilson said. "We will be there," he said.
Schoep also attacked how the police department handled the denial. He contested the validity of a football game as a reason to deny the permit and attacked the manner in which the group was informed of the denial.
"It has been noted that your department informed the press of the initial denial of our permit," Schoep said in the letter. "Yet, we had not been informed by your department if the permit was approved or denied. The media informed us, so we assume that it may not even be true."
Schoep wrote that the letter was being sent by U.S. Postal Service on Monday to the police department but was released to the media via e-mail beforehand.
Despite the group's criticism with how the denial was handled, it said it is still willing to compromise with the city.
"If you are willing to negotiate with us on the terms of the rally, and time, we are open to amend within reason," Schoep said in the letter.
One change the group was willing to make, he said, would be to cut down the march from the original five hours it requested.
Dresner said the two sides were supposed to meet to discuss the matter on Monday.