Riot in Toledo,
Mayor of Toledo,
Ohio, Declares Emergency, Sets Curfew After Hundreds of White Supremacists Riot
By JOHN SEEWER Associated Press Writer
TOLEDO, Ohio Oct 16, 2005 — Protesters at a white supremacists' march threw rocks at police, vandalized
vehicles and stores and cursed the mayor for allowing the event.
Mayor Jack Ford said when he and a local minister tried to calm the rioters Saturday,
they were cursed and a masked gang member threatened to shoot him. At one point, the crowd reached 600 people, officials said.
Rioters set fire to 86-year-old Louis Ratajski's neighborhood pub, Jim & Lou's Bar,
but he and his nephew escaped the flames.
"To be honest with you, there weren't enough police to take care of them," he said.
At least 65 people were arrested and several police officers were injured before calm
was restored about four hours later.
Ford blamed the rioting on gangs taking advantage of a volatile situation. He declared
a state of emergency, set an 8 p.m. curfew through the weekend and asked the Highway Patrol for help.
"It's exactly what they wanted," Ford said of the group that planned the march, which
was canceled because of the rioting.
At least two dozen members of the National Socialist Movement, which calls itself "America's Nazi Party," had gathered at a city park to march
under police protection. Organizers said they were demonstrating against black gangs they said were harassing white residents.
The violence broke out about one-quarter of a mile away along the planned march route
shortly before it was to begin. One group of men pounded on a convenience store, and others overturned vehicles. There was
a report of a shooting but police hadn't found a victim, Police Chief Mike Navarre said.
About 150 police officers chased bands of young men through the area. Officers wearing
gas masks fired tear gas canisters and flash-bang devices designed to stun suspects, but the groups continued throwing rocks
and bottles. Several officers and firefighters suffered minor injuries, Navarre
Finally, police marched shoulder-to-shoulder down the street shouting to people to stay
inside, and the crowd of several hundred broke up.
At least 65 people were arrested on charges including assault, vandalism, failure to obey
police and failure to disperse, Navarre
said. He said the white supremacists had left hours earlier.
"We frankly could have made a couple hundred arrests easily," Navarre said. "We just didn't have the resources on hand to arrest all of them."
The mayor had appealed to residents the night before to ignore the march. He said the
city wouldn't give the Nazi group a permit to march in the streets but couldn't stop them from walking on the sidewalks.
When the rioting began, Ford tried to negotiate with those involved, but "they weren't
interested in that." He said people in the crowd swore at him and wanted to know why he was protecting the Nazis.
They were mostly "gang members who had real or imagined grievances and took it as an opportunity
to speak in their own way," Ford said.
"I was chagrined that there were obvious mothers and children in the crowd with them,"
Thomas Frisch, 76, said a large group of men destroyed the exterior of a gas station next
to his home of 30 years.
"A whole big gang started to come in here. Next thing you know, they're jumping on the
car. Then they overturned it. Then they started on the building, breaking windows, ripping the bars off," he said.
Ratajski and his nephew left Jim & Lou's Bar as a crowd gathered in front, pelting
police with rocks and breaking the windows. "I was shaking. I feared for my life," said Ratajski's nephew, Terry Rybczynski.
Keith White, a black resident, criticized city officials for allowing the march: "They
let them come here and expect this not to happen?" said White, 29.
A spokesman for the National Socialist Movement blamed police for losing control of the