The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/aryan-nations/press/Spokane.Net.000909

  September 9, 2000 =20

Butler wants a parade
Aryan leader responds with request for permit=20

Thomas Clouse - Staff writer

HAYDEN LAKE _ The morning after a North Idaho jury slapped Aryan Nations
leader Richard Butler with a $6.3 million verdict, he filed a request to
hold a parade in downtown Coeur d'Alene.

Butler woke Friday after the defeat and drove to Hayden for breakfast at
Rustlers Roost -- his favorite restaurant.

But he was denied service.

Butler then drove to Coeur d'Alene City Hall at 10:20 a.m. and filled out a
"Special Event Permit Application" to hold a march down Sherman Avenue on
either Oct. 15 or Oct. 28.

A jury on Thursday awarded Victoria and Jason Keenan the massive civil
judgment in connection with a July 1, 1998, shooting near the compound
north of Hayden Lake.

Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has already
secured liens against all of Butler's assets -- include his 20-acre=

Butler had no comment when approached Friday. He'll hold a 3 p.m. press
conference today on the grounds that he must turn over to the Keenans,
pending possible legal appeals.

The parade request shows that Butler is fighting back despite the verdict,
said 22-year-old Bob Gmeiner, an Aryan Nations member.=20

As Gmeiner leaned on a rail in front of the Aryan Nations office, Butler
slowly walked to his house, flanked by his dog, Fritz.

"It's pretty much saying that you can take the church from us, but we are
not going anywhere," Gmeiner said.

Coeur d'Alene Mayor Steve Judy, who was in Boise for an Association of
Idaho Cities meeting, had this reaction to the parade request: "So what."

"I guess (Butler) didn't get the message," Judy said. "I guess when
(jurors) told him to take a hike, he must have thought they meant the main
street of Coeur d'Alene."

City Attorney Jeff Jones said he gave the parade application to Police
Chief Tom Cronin to process.

"It usually takes a while to review ... so that the Police Department can
take the steps necessary," Jones said.

Cronin on Friday turned the job over to Capt. Ken Timmons -- on Timmons'

"We kind of figured, whether he won or lost, that (Butler) was going to
march," Cronin said. "This is still America.

"If he does everything according to what the City Council asks of anybody
-- be it kids on the Fourth of July or the Aryans -- we have to provide the
police services."

On the application, Butler said he expects more than 100 participants. The
maximum he will allow to participate is 500.

Butler listed "white resistance" as the purpose for the 11 a.m. "Christian
Heritage" parade. It will start at Eighth Street and end at First Street,
with the Aryans assembling at Independence Point.

"I can't believe he will have 100 people," Cronin said. "It would be really
nice if nobody showed up."

City Councilman Ron Edinger said Butler has the same right as anyone to
apply for the parade.

"You can't deny a parade permit," he said. "We found that out."

The Aryans marched in 1998, and city leaders tried to move the Aryans' 1999
parade to Ramsey Road, next to the old city dump.

The Aryans and the ACLU sued the city over that move, and U.S. District
Judge Edward Lodge ordered the city to allow the 17 Aryans to march on

Butler did not attempt to march this summer prior to the civil trial that
started Aug. 28.

Doug Cresswell, president of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human
Relations, said he was surprised Butler applied to march.

"Quite frankly, I have no idea what the motivation is," Cresswell said. "I
can't believe he'll have much support."

If the Aryans do march, the task force might provide an alternative, much
like the "Making Lemonade out of Lemons" response to the 1998 Aryan
Nations' parade. That fund-raiser let residents pledge money for every
minute the Aryan Nations marched. About $35,000 was raised for human rights

"Our philosophy basically is: We're not going to go out and demonstrate
against him," Cresswell said.

The task force's board of directors will meet next Monday night, where they
will talk about the possible parade and their response.

Task force member Marshall Mend said he didn't expect such a thing after
the verdict, but it won't change the way things are handled.

He said the task force's response will stay the same: Don't go to the march.

"It's a nothing event," he said. "Nobody showed up for the trial, nobody
(should) show up for the march."

Cronin said he will probably suggest that Butler hold his parade on Oct.
28, which will give his department two more weeks to plan.

Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson expressed annoyance Friday when he
learned Butler had applied for the parade.

Especially when the news came the same day that Watson got the $25,000
labor and overtime bill just for the first five days of the eight-day civil

Watson won't have the full cost or the total number of officers used until
next week.

However, Watson did promise 1st District Judge Charles Hosack that his
deputies would provide security for any of the jurors.

"But none have asked. We have not gotten any indicators that we have had
any threats or anything," Watson said.

Back at the 20 acres filled with "Whites Only" signs and swastikas, the
stiff breeze blew an Aryan Nations sign back and forth.

The rusted joints creaked with each swing underneath the gray morning sky.

Gmeiner -- who last Thursday ordered the same reporter and photographer off
the compound -- willingly chatted about the future of his cause.

"My destiny and the future of all of us was set in stone before I was
born," the former Spokane resident said. "We can't be upset about that.

"We have to continue to fight and go forward with our message. One day we
will have our victory."

Even if the Keenans turn the compound into an educational center where
school children can learn about tolerance -- as Dees suggested -- the Aryan
Nations will live, Gmeiner said.

"I have about six skinhead friends. If we have to start our own
organization, we will," he said. "We will be here forever."

=95Staff writer Angie Gaddy contributed to this report.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.