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6 Arrested as Police Keep Protesters Apart From White Supremacists

November 23, 1987|STEPHANIE O'NEILL | Times Staff Writer

About 75 Glendale police officers and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Sunday held off an angry mob of more than 250 shouting protesters outside the Glendale Holiday Inn, where white supremacist J. B. Stoner was leading a meeting.

The helmeted officers formed lines in front of the hotel and sealed off area streets to keep the chanting protesters off the hotel property and away from members of neo-Nazi groups.

Although several scuffles broke out in the crowd, no serious injuries were reported.

Some of the violence was directed at five teen-age white supremacist "skinheads." As the youths milled in front of the building, dozens of protesters caught sight of them and began walking toward them, hurling insults.

"We ran. Everybody saw us, started yelling," said one of the youths, who identified himself only as Ashley.

Chased Through Parking Lot

The five were chased through the hotel's parking lot and stopped at the sidewalk, where two protesters kicked and punched two of the skinheads.

At one point, about 10 demonstrators kicked at Ashley's 13-year-old brother, Trevor, as he lay on the ground. The boy suffered a cut mouth and bruises. He said after the attack: "I hate them even more now."

Both boys, who wore "White Power," swastika-emblazoned T-shirts, said they had come peacefully to hear Stoner.

"We didn't expect anything like this," Ashley said.

Police arrested six people--four for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, one for disturbing the peace and another for failing to disperse, Glendale Police Sgt. Dean Durand said.

Inside the hotel, fewer than two dozen supporters of the Crusade Against Corruption listened to Stoner, the organization's president. Stoner, 63, was convicted in 1983 of the 1958 bombing of a black Birmingham, Ala., church. He was released from prison last November after serving three years and five months.

1 1/2-Hour Meeting

During the 1 1/2-hour meeting, Stoner told the audience, in speaking out against blacks, Jews and other minorities, that acquired immune deficiency syndrome is God's method of "destroying His enemies."

"With AIDS, God is rescuing and preserving the white race," Stoner, a resident of Marietta, Ga., told reporters. "AIDS is a racial disease."

The demonstrations against Stoner and his organization began shortly after noon at the Glendale Public Library. There, about 100 members of a group called the International Committee Against Racism chanted and marched on a sidewalk.

Carrying red and yellow cloth banners and cardboard placards, they chanted: "J. B. Stoner you can't hide, we charge you with genocide," and "Hey, Hey what do you say? Death to the Nazis and the KKK."

30 Helmeted Officers

The INCAR protesters were joined by members of the Los Angeles-based Jewish Defense League and People Against Racist Terrorism. About 30 uniformed police officers wearing helmets and carrying wooden batons kept protesters off library property during the demonstration. Another dozen officers cruised the adjoining streets in patrol cars.

Officers confiscated more than a dozen full soda cans from the INCAR protesters, fearful the cans would be used as weapons to be thrown. Authorities also asked JDL members to put away TASER guns that several wore in waist holsters.

After the library rally, the protesters marched about a mile and a half to the hotel.

Last week, Glendale city officials lashed out at racist organizations.

"We don't like them. We don't want them. And we don't intend for their activities to get out of hand in this community," City Manager Jamez M. Rez said. "We recognize that these groups enjoy the rights of assembly and free speech under law, and we can't interfere with that. But we also recognize that they meet and speak to incite hatred and trouble, and we fully intend to do everything in our power to prevent trouble."

Erupted Into Violence

On June 25, a forum between a Glendale civil rights group and a Glendale-based white supremacist organization at the city's public library erupted into violence and was canceled before it could begin. The melee left at least one man bloodied and another arrested.

Fearing a possible repeat, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich on Thursday asked Holiday Inn manager Pat Duncan to cancel Sunday's engagement with the Crusade Against Corruption.

But at a press conference Sunday morning, Duncan told reporters that the hotel would honor the 2-month-old agreement made with Stoner's organization.

"We do not agree with any of Mr. Stoner's views and in no way support them," Duncan said. "We regret and are very distressed our hotel will be used as a platform to express them."

Times staff writer Esther Schrader contributed to this story.

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