Michael Miller, The Miami New Times reporter who kicked off an internet firestorm a few days ago with a report of armed groups of neo-Nazis patrolling Sanford, Florida, is at it again, After Trayvon Martin, Neo-Nazis Say They’re Armed and Patrolling Sanford.
The account, again, is based entirely on claims by a neo-Nazi member from Detroit, without any verification that such patrols are taking place. At least this time Miller notes that the Sanford Police dispute that such patrols are taking place:
Because nothing diffuses racial tension like gun-toting racial separatists patrolling an already on-edge community, Sanford, Florida, is about to get just the support it needs after the Trayvon Martin tragedy: heavily armed neo-Nazi patrols.
The patrols are meant to protect “white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety” during the backlash over Martin’s killing by a neighborhood watchman, says Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. “We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, but we are prepared for it,” he tells Riptide. “We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over.”
The Sanford Police Department “has not seen any neo-Nazis on patrol,” says Sgt. David Morgenstern, a department spokesman. But Schoep, whose neo-Nazi group is based in Detroit, tells Riptide that ten to 20 locals and “volunteers” from across the state — including some from Miami — are actively cruising the Central Florida town. He declined to specify what kind of firepower they have or where they are driving.
After all the embarrassment the Miami New Times caused itself, the blogosphere and the mainstream media with the first story, doubling down without any new information simply appears to be traffic baiting (hey, it worked by getting me to link).
Elsewhere, as everyone is waiting for the prosecutor to make a decision on whether to charge Zimmerman, tensions are rising, stoked in part by internet frenzies kicked off by stories about neo-Nazis patrolling Sanford:
- Voice forensics experts cast doubt on Orlando Sentinel analysis of Trayvon Martin 911 tape
- George Zimmerman takes to Web to raise money for legal costs, lawyers confirm
- Gainesville man beaten after men shout “Trayvon”.
- Shots fired at Sanford police car.
- Zimmerman family challenges Holder on New Black Panthers, says no arrests ‘based solely on your race’