Armed Nazis who crashed Motor City Pride over the weekend hoped to spark a repeat of the violence at the 2017 Charlottesville, Va., “Unite the Right” rally, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference Monday.
Five of the 15 members of the National Socialist Movement were open-carrying, “two with long guns and three with handguns,” WXYZ-TV in Detroit reported. Craig said intelligence sources told police the Nazis “wanted a Charlottesville No. 2.”
At the April 2017 Charlottesville event, white supremacists chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” One of them, James Alex Fields, Jr. plowed his car into the crowd, killing anti-Nazi protester Heather Heyer, 32. Fields was convicted in December 2018 of first-degree murder.
At Motor City Pride, Craig said, “We kept both groups separate, we had good communication with both groups, and as it turned out, there was no violence.”
The police response has been criticized by some on the left who accused them of protecting Nazis. Detroit Free Press liberal columnist Nancy Kaffer noted that Nazis are entitled to the freedom of assembly under the First Amendment.