Detroit Police Department and others step in as neo-Nazi group disrupts Michigan’s largest pride festival, destroying flags and carrying weapons.
Over the weekend, Detroit hosted its Motor City Pride Festival, the largest pride event in the state of Michigan. The festival is a place for the community to come together and celebrate gay pride, but neo-Nazi members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) had other plans.
Various media sources reported NSM members were seen walking through the parade wearing their all-black uniforms flagged with swastikas, carrying weapons and demonstrating Nazi salutes.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) states the NSM is known for its “violent anti-Jewish rhetoric and their racist views.” This was visible to all when one white nationalist was photographed straddling and appearing to urinate on an Israeli flag lying on the ground.
Yesterday on assignment for @reuters in Detroit – A woman who tried to block the path of members of the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist group, is shoved to the ground as they demonstrate against the LGBTQ event Motor City Pride in Detroi… https://t.co/h8XYadkXPD pic.twitter.com/q96EyxNaHS
— Jim Urquhart (@jimurquhartpixs) June 9, 2019
Sam Dubin, founder of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s NEXTGen Detroit Pride, is no stranger to this type of anti-Semitism and discrimination.
“As gays, Jews and gay Jews, we have historically been discriminated against. I’m confident that when we stick together and rise above the hatred, that’s when we have the most power to combat anti-Semitism and homophobia,” Dubin said.
Carolyn Normandin, the Regional Director of Michigan’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL), wants members of the community to call out this type of behavior and not allow it to become normalized in our society.
“We will continue to make our presence known that we fight this kind of hate in all forms,” Normandin said. “We do that all day, every day, and we won’t give up. We will not give in to people who have these vile and disgusting thoughts.”
The Detroit Police Department held a press conference Monday afternoon addressing the situation. Many people from the community believed police officers were escorting the members of the NSM through the parade, but that was not the case.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig laid those rumors to rest by reiterating that the number one goal was to maintain peace.
“To any critics that thought we were escorting them, we were simply keeping the two groups separate,” Craig said.
The police department was also informed through its intelligence unit that five members of the NSM were carrying guns. The members were taking advantage of open carry with two of them holding long guns and the other three carrying handguns.
Craig clarified that a member of the NSM did not actually urinate on the Israeli flag despite what images may show. “We advised him that if he did urinate on the flag, he would be arrested.”
However, members of the NSM destroyed both the Israeli flag and rainbow pride flags.
“I applaud the men and women of Detroit Police Department,” Craig said. “They showed dedication and professionalism in order to maintain peace.”