Three people have been arrested days after a Jewish passerby was attacked by a group of self-proclaimed neo-Nazis who yelled antisemitic slogans outside a central Florida shopping plaza over the weekend, authorities said Friday.
Group leader Burt Colucci, 45, and Joshua Terrell, 46, are each charged with battery with a hate crime enhancement, while Jason Brown, 47, is charged with grand theft, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. All three are members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi groups, officials said.
More than a dozen demonstrators, wearing Nazi garb, protested at an intersection near the University of Central Florida on Saturday and waved a swastika flag from a highway overpass on Sunday.
During Saturday’s demonstration, some participants got into a fight with a passerby who confronted the group, but no arrests were made at the time.
University of Central Florida student David Newstat, who is Jewish, told WOFL-TV that he had driven by the group and denounced their hatred, prompting one of the neo-Nazis to spit on him as others surrounded his car.
“I’m trying to go to the store, to Target, and I’m coming back home, and I’m being berated by Nazis,” Newstat said. “My grandfather was a survivor. Other members of my family were survivors of the Holocaust and migrated to the U.S. after. It’s very sad to see people like this can be so ignorant and can have so much hatred built up in their hearts.”
Newstat said he then got out of his vehicle, started recording the group and pushed a demonstrator who spat at him. He said the demonstrators then punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed him.
“I’m literally Jewish and I got attacked, assaulted, pepper-sprayed, spit on, you name it,” Newstat said.
Investigators watched video of the incident and said Newstat was punched repeatedly by Terrell and pepper-sprayed by Colucci after he pushed an older demonstrator to the ground, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Brown then stole the victim’s phone, which was later found “damaged beyond repair,” according to affidavits released by the sheriff’s office.
The next day, the group gathered on an overpass but authorities from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Highway Patrol said they disbanded them.
Orange County in central Florida is home to the nation’s biggest theme park resorts. The demonstrations took place a week after antisemitic flyers were distributed to hundreds of homes in two South Florida cities with large Jewish populations.
Online jail and court records didn’t list whether Terrell, Colucci or Brown had attorneys who could comment.
Republished with permission from The Associated Press.
February 5, 2022 at 11:29 am
So, when is Gov. deSantis going to apologize for his press conference rant that the Nazi DEMONstrators were members of the Democratic party? Unless our mostly uneducated governor thinks that the National Socialist Movement is a Democratic protesting group, all members of the Florida Democratic party and all residents of Florida deserve a public retraction from DeSantis for his ignorant comments. All decent people should stop donations to this bigot.
Voters who care about voting for a clueless (or lying) governor should be angry that Florida’s governor doesn’t know about the legal party name of Nazis or neo-Nazis harming Jewish citizens.
February 5, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Come on down to FREEDUMB FLORIDA!
Welcome to Ron DeSantis’s Florida where all Nazis, Trumpsters, CPAC clowns, grifters and fraudsters are welcome. Come on down!
February 7, 2022 at 1:49 am
You’re welcome to leave here anytime.
February 7, 2022 at 3:44 am
“Love It Or Leave It”. An oldie but goodie? It’s a shame your bunch hasn’t made in progress in 60 years.
February 6, 2022 at 9:52 am
How disgusting. Agreed Peter H. We used to hear headlines or news blurbs of people doing stupid things and cringed, knowing that “Florida” was soon to follow. For a person to think they are superior to another because of race or religion has always baffled me. I have seen those “numbers” tatooed on the forearms of frail elderly people. What strength and faith it had to take to survive. These chicken s***s knocking elderly people to the ground wouldn’t have made it off the cattle cars, let alone one day in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Asians are suffering due to stupid people acting on Trump’s “China flu” comments, repeated by his followers. Our State is focused on private army funding and passing bills regarding strawberry shortcake. Disgusting people in office and protesting. Aah, the good old days, drunk man rides alligator, in Florida.
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