(This story has been updated. See the additions posted at the end.)
Are radical fringe movements being allowed to hijack the Trayvon Martin case?
With parallel local and federal investigations of the Florida teen's shooting underway, radical, race-focused groups from both extremes are gathering in Sanford, Fla., bringing additional tension to an already strained situation.
The New Black Panther Party was in Sanford on Saturday to lead a "Self Defense and Survival Training."
The group has been front and center in the Martin case nearly from the beginning. Representatives from the NBPP have appeared on cable news programs and in all forms of the media demanding "justice for Trayvon." They have also offered a $10,000 bounty for the "arrest" of George Zimmerman and been involved in several different rallies and marches related to the case. And, as reported earlier this week on The Blaze, NBPP is also pushing its National Day of Action & Absence.
At the same time the New Black Panthers are making their presence felt, a group of "armed neo-Nazis" have also started patrolling the streets of Sanford.
The National Socialist Movement (NSM) claims to have brought armed patrols to the area to protect the locals...specifically whites who they claim are "concerned for their safety."
As reported by the Miami New Times, Commander Jeff Shoep, a leader of the NSM, said his group is not pushing violence or race riots.
"We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, but we are prepared for it," he says. "We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over."
Mr. Shoep's comments to the Miami New Times about "not advocating any type of violence", seem to contradict the tone he takes on the NSM's website. Just last month, in a statement on the Trayvon Martin killing, the "commander" posted the following:
As citizens and neighbors dissolve along Racial lines, the possibility of further Racial violence in the Melting Pot is brimming over like a powder keg ready to explode into the streets. The National Socialist Movement for many years has publicly called for Racial separation, the melting pot of forced integration in America is a massive failure, and this is just one more example of a Racial issue about to explode!
Is there a racial explosion about to happen in Sanford?
Perhaps the NSM's armed response was triggered by reports like the one received earlier this week. A reader sent The Blaze a copy of a flyer reportedly posted in downtown Sanford. It called for the "execution" of George Zimmerman and a boycott of all "white businesses here in Sanford."
(We requested an actual hard copy of the above flyer, but have been told that the offensive posters have been removed from the downtown area where they were spotted just days before.)
Both extremes have gathered in Sanford. Both groups are making very public displays of their displeasure about the actions taken or not taken in this case.
The NSM's armed patrols with 10-20 "volunteers."
The NBPP has their training sessions today and the day of "No School, No Work, and No Shopping" is slated to take place on Monday, one day before the Grand Jury releases its decision on the George Zimmerman investigation.
And yet, the mainstream media has virtually no coverage on the Black Panthers "training" or the National Socialists armed patrols. Why?
Weigh in below.
A report from the Sanford Police Department is casting doubt on the story posted in the Miami New Times about the Neo-Nazis and the armed street patrols in Sanford. According to William Jacobson, Assistant Clinical Professor of Cornell Law School, there is no evidence that the Neo Nazis are in the Florida town:
Response from Sanford Joint Information Center: “At this time the City of Sanford has not confirmed the presence of Neo-Nazis groups.”
The professor asked for additional clarification and got it:
“You say “not confirmed.” Is there any indication of such patrols that the Department is aware of?”
Further Response from Sanford Joint Information Center:
“We have no indication of any such patrols at this point in Sanford. The only large gathering was the children and their parents at the Easter egg hunt.”
The Blaze will continue to monitor this story and update it as needed.