UPDATED: Police Deny Neo-Nazi Vigilantes Are Patrolling Sanford’s Streets

UPDATE 2pm, April 9. Mediaite says that Sanford police say they say they have “no indication” of neo-Nazis patrolling Sanford.

Heavily armed neo-Nazis have taken it upon themselves to patrol in and around Sanford, Florida, where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed on February 26 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement tells the Miami New Times that armed patrols are needed because ”white citizens in the area … are concerned for their safety.” Schoep, who describes his Detroit-based organization as a “white civil rights organization,” claims that the $10,000 bounty put on Zimmerman by a group called the New Black Panther Party for a citizen’s arrest is proof that racial violence could occur and that it’s therefore necessary to be ”prepared” for violence.

The patrols contain 10 to 20 locals and “volunteers” from across the state. Schoep did not specify exactly what kind of weapons they have armed themselves with but commented that “in Arizona the guys can walk around with assault weapons and that’s totally legal” and that what “we are doing now in Florida” is “totally within the law.”

Raw Story‘s Muriel Kane notes that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Schoep is “a neo-Nazi true believer since age 10 who has managed, largely by luck, to end up heading one of the largest explicitly Hitlerite groups in America.” Schoep’s group attained its “fame” — notoriety — for holding a rally against “black crime” in Toledo, Ohio, in October of 2005. Police ordered Schoep’s group to leave before marching as their anti-racist insults had infuriated local residents. Police bussed NSM members out of the area but were then attacked by some of the local residents and 100 were arrested. As far as the NSM was concerned, “things could hardly have gone better.”

Schoep told the Miami New Times that he is not taking sides about the killing of Martin because Zimmerman himself is not white but “…half Hispanic or Cuban or something. He certainly doesn’t look white to me.”

It goes without saying that tensions in Sanford and around the country have been high since Martin was killed. Writing in the Guardian, David A. Love draws attention to a “vigilante spirit” in the U.S. justice system and also a “lingering lynch mob mentality.” Along with misconduct among prosecutors and police corruption, Love singles out the “stand your ground” law which

…enables vigilantes who wish to perform private, extrajudicial executions and become a legalised lynch mob. The law breaks with centuries of legal tradition by allowing a person to “stand one’s ground” and use deadly force wherever he or she feels threatened, without a duty to retreat.

The “stand your ground” law was first enacted in Florida. 21 states have adopted it and the likes of the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Exchange Council — ALEC – promote it. The law enables vigilantes to act outside of the judicial system while also giving the nod to “renegade prosecutors who stand in the way of justice.”

Martin’s killing and the failure of police to arrest, and of prosecutors to indict, Zimmerman — and also the very presence of Schoep and other neo-Nazi patrolling Sanford’s streets — are all part of nothing less than “an epidemic of a vigilante spirit  within the U.S. justice system.” Has the U.S. court system become mere ”window dressing for a racist mob mentality” and — as Love chillingly writes — is the death penalty now simply a ”‘legal replacement’ for the lynchings of a bygone era”?

Related Care2 Coverage

Trayvon Martin Tragedy – Could It Have Been Prevented?

Businesses Turn Their Backs On ALEC Agenda

George Zimmerman Proves Latinos Can Be Racist, Too



Photo of National Socialist Movement rally in 2008 by bootbeardbc via Wikimedia Commons


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

John K.
John K.5 years ago

They are no different than their fellow traveler black panthers, Calypso Louie Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and Spike Lee.

Frances C.
Frances C5 years ago

I think most of us know what Nazi's are, and the horrors they committed. There are many tea party R's who have gone around the bend. Trying to force their ultra religious views on everyone else. Killing Physicians who perform abortions, a legal procedure. Some think it is okay to shoot a black teenager for walking (suspiciously) down the sidewalk to his house. I hope that some would be Rambo with a gun would not think my son was walking strangely. The Nazi's could beat or even kill a Jew because they didn't like the way he looked or acted, with no consequences. Trayvon had committed no crime, no crime was reported in the area. He was black, that is what caught the shooters attention. He had no gun, or weapon on him...he was just walking. Just walking!

Samuel Williams
Harley W5 years ago

I believe Jane B. That you have gone around the bend. There are too many people who are using words such as Nazi and do not understand what it means and it's proper use.

All 17 of your points are false. Unless you believe that Obama is a Nazi.

Seventh day Adventist Love GOD his planet and all people.

Andrea Hoyt
Andrea Hoyt5 years ago

Jane B. Wow..... is this a joke? Are you just venting? =?

Jane Barton
Jane Barton5 years ago

How you can tell our country is run by Nazis:
1) The Pope is a Nazi and 70% of Americans are Catholic/Christian and "believe in" the Nazi
2) Catholic/Christian/Nazis instituted slavery in America. Nazis fought to the death to
protect their "right" to enslave and murder black people.
3) Nazis' mission is to dominate the world, i.e. make the world "safe for the white man"
4) Nazis love murdering minorities, women, animals and their own people (Hitler)
5) Nazis love the tobacco industry because they killed 50 million people so far.
6) Nazis love feeding their children pink slime (dog food) mixed with bleach so the meat
industry can make more money
7) Nazis love pedophiles and covered up child molestation for 2,000 years
8) Nazis are liars, thieves and cheats (Newt and his ilk)
9) Nazis love to rape underage girls (Mormons and Muslims too)
10) Nazis = KKK = NRA
11) Nazis always blame their victims (she asked for it)
12) Child rape, incest, war on women, gays and animals are an integral part of the Nazi
13) After Nazis get done raping, they call the victims "whores" or "gay"
14) People who politely object to Nazis' murdering get assassinated (JFK, Bobbie, MLK)
15) Nazis want to take away women's control of their own bodies, they hate their own
16) Nazis brag to the world how "advanced" they are.
17) Nazis are the only people in the world to have soldiers in 101 areas around the globe

Thomas Camoin
Thomas Camoin5 years ago

It seems to me that they could use the 'stand your ground' law try Zimmerman, after all he followed Trayvon, threatened him and the young man stood his ground. You simply can not follow someone and call that standing your ground! If Zimmerman is not at least brought to trial then there really is no f-ing justice in this country!

Sharon R.
Sharon Re5 years ago

Our country is so divided in so many ways-- politics especially-- that it seems to be encouraging the growth of radical groups like this. Whether the Tea Party or Occupy Movement or this new Hitlerite group, it all seems to put one bunch of people against another as if our own countrymen and women were the problem. Obama's policies seem to be encouraging divisiveness, too. He definitely does not seem to have the skills of collaborative government that he promised during his campaign....

Danielle A.
Danielle Medina5 years ago

Any ethnic group can be racist. White on nonwhite crime is not OK, and nonwhite on white crime is not OK either. And a white person wasn't responsible in this case.

Lin Moy
Lin M5 years ago

I wish this was over and done with. It is so sad.