Monday, April 30, 2001

Racist fliers appear on suburban lawns

Supremacists trying to exploit riots, expert says

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A flurry of racist fliers — apparently being distributed by people from distant parts of Ohio — appeared on lawns and in mailboxes of several Greater Cincinnati residents last week.

        The fliers, some of which bore the names of the National Socialist Movement and National Alliance, claimed that during the civil unrest in Cincinnati two weeks ago “over 100 hate crimes were committed against whites.”

        They go on to say that whites should arm and defend themselves against blacks and encouraged more whites to join their cause. The fliers also defamed ethnic and religious groups, and homosexuals.

        The hate literature began appearing last weekend in Butler County's Liberty and West Chester townships. About 100 residents in Alexandria — about 15 miles from Cincinnati — also received racist fliers.

        Wayne Dammert of Alexandria found two fliers from the National Alliance on his lawn along with his morning newspaper Tuesday.

        “We don't need this kind of thing in our neighborhood or anywhere else for that matter,” he said. “It's trash. I don't agree with those views (expressed in the fliers) and I don't like it one bit.”

        Gail Gans, a spokeswoman for the Anti-Defamation League in New York, said hate groups typically engage in leaflet campaigns this time of year to recruit people.

        “But because of the spe cial circumstances in Cincinnati with the riots, these groups are going to try to use that to pull more people into their way of thinking,” she said.

        Ms. Gans said police and civic leaders in Cincinnati should be prepared for the possibility of these groups organizing some type of rally.

        “Could it happen? I don't know,” Ms. Gans said. “But I think it is something that law enforcement and civic leaders need to be cognizant of and prepared for.”

        Lt. Ray Ruberg said Cincinnati police are aware of the hate literature being circulated and also popping up on the Internet. He said police are monitoring both situations and taking all complaints seriously.

        Butler County sheriff's deputies received numerous complaints from residents who were offended by the literature, Deputy Brian Bussell said.

        Sheriff's deputies and Fairfield Township police officers tracked down a vehicle from which the fliers allegedly were being tossed.

        Police did not arrest the four Ohio men in the car, but cited them on misdemeanor littering charges.

        They were identified as Matthew Paul Morris, 19, of Bay Village; Seth E. Chaney, 26, of Carroll; Michael E. Johnston, 26, of Ravenna; and Howard J. Wilkleman, 25, of Newton Falls.

        They are scheduled for a Wednesday court appearance.

        “When things like this happen, it just takes your breath away,” said Gary Hines, president of the Hamilton-Fairfield-West Chester NAACP. “But I think it's a good sign that people in our community are willing to stand up to this type of thing and call the police, rather than sticking their heads in the sand.”


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