The Slatest

Armed Neo-Nazis Get a Police Escort to Disrupt Detroit Pride

A group of neo-Nazis, one holding a rainbow pride flag, one stepping on an Israeli flag. A law enforcement official stands in the background.
Members of the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist group, pose over a flag of Israel as they demonstrate against the LGBTQ event Motor City Pride in Detroit on June 8.
Reuters/Jim Urquhart

A day of fun and celebration took a dark turn when armed neo-Nazis crashed Pride celebrations in Detroit and shouted insults while tearing up a rainbow flag. One man even appears to have urinated on an Israeli flag. And, in a move that angered many, that was all made possible by police who escorted the small group of neo-Nazis while they disrupted the celebrations and insulted those in attendance.

The members from the National Socialist Movement, which the Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes as one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the United States and one that specializes in provocative protests, made Nazi salutes and openly carried weapons while they were protesting. Video posted on social media shows one small group of neo-Nazis marching while someone yells “fuck you, faggots” into a bullhorn.

While police say their goal was to keep the neo-Nazis and those attending Motor City Pride away from each other, many expressed anger that law enforcement officers were making it possible for white supremacists to disrupt Pride with hateful messages. “Where was Detroit Police when armed Nazis were marching with their NAZI FLAG shouting Homophobic slurs, anti-black racism, and white nationalism you ask? Serving and Protecting THE NAZIS,” one activist wrote on Twitter. “It’s 2019 and cops are escorting Nazis through a pride celebration. Disgusting,” another wrote.

Detroit wasn’t the only city that saw its Pride celebrations disrupted this weekend. Seven people were sent to the hospital in D.C. after fears of an active shooter led to a stampede. People gathered around Dupont Circle started running after hearing what they thought was a gunshot. A man was taken into custody and is facing a charge of gun possession, but Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted that police said there were “no shots fired.”