AP, Jan. 7, 2003
HARRISBURG (AP) – A white supremacist group that wants to hold a parade and rally in York on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honor a white police officer slain in 1969 has asked a federal judge to hold an emergency hearing on whether the city can block the event.
The Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement said the City Hall rally would pay tribute to Henry C. Schaad, a white police officer killed during the city’s 1969 race riots, and would protest Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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York rejected an application for the Jan. 20 rally because it was incomplete. A city ordinance, passed after white supremacists held a recruitment drive at Martin Memorial Library last year, allows city officials to deny a permit application for one of 11 reasons, including that the application was incomplete.
The white supremacist group filed a lawsuit contending the city law violates the Constitution and saying the city interfered with the group’s right to free speech.
The city said in court documents filed with U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane that five items in the application either were not filled out or were objected to by the group.
In the application, Nationalist Movement attorney Richard Barrett had objected to rules requiring payment of permit fees, liability insurance and a security deposit.
The Nationalist Movement on Friday asked for an emergency hearing to resolve the issue, Barrett said; but nothing had been scheduled as of Monday.
A lawyer and a spokesman for the city did not immediately return telephone requests for comment. In court documents, the city said the ordinance in question was valid and not directed at the content of the group’s message.
Barrett said his organization preferred to get a court order allowing the march, although he said the group could rally without permission from the city.
“If you have a court order against the city officials saying they can’t interfere with events, then you know it’s safe to come out,” Barrett said.
White supremacist groups have targeted York since city police arrested nine white men in 2001, including then-Mayor Charlie Robertson, in the shooting of a black woman during the riots. Lillie Belle Allen, 27, of Aiken, S.C., was killed days after Schaad was shot and mortally wounded.
After 10 hours of deliberation, jurors on Oct. 19 convicted Robert Messersmith and Gregory Neff of second-degree murder in Allen’s slaying. The jury acquitted Robertson.
Two black men were arrested in 2001 in Schaad’s killing and are awaiting trial on murder charges.
Schaad’s widow has asked that the rally not be held.