The leader of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and two of his subordinates were arrested and charged on Friday by Orlando police for their involvement with a physical altercation during one of their Florida Neo-Nazi rallies on February 29.
Burt Colucci, the "commander" of the self-described American Neo-Nazi group, and Joshua Terrell, were arrested for battery with a hate crime enhancement, Orange County Sherrif John Mina announced. Police also arrested Jason Brown for grand theft.
According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, on February 29 demonstrators wearing Nazi insignias and yelling antisemitic slurs entered into a physical fight with a passerby.
"I'm literally Jewish and I got attacked, assaulted, pepper-sprayed -- you name it --spit on, called disgusting slurs, just because of my religion," UCF student David Newstat told Fox35 Orlando.
According to Fox35 Orlando, Newstat was stopped at the intersection by the Neo-Nazi demonstration when the supremacists saw an Israeli flag on his license plate cover. Newstat alleged that the Neo-Nazis surrounded his car and spat on him. He said that he then confronted them, and then pushed someone when they had spit on him again. Newstat said it was then that he was then kicked, punched, and pepper-sprayed.
"My grandfather was a survivor, other members of my family were survivors of the Holocaust and migrated to the US," Newstat told the Fox affiliate. "It's just very sad to see that people like this can be so ignorant and can have so much hatred built up in their heart."
The NSM claimed that Newstat assaulted their member first, who they say was a 74-year old man. A video released by the group shows a man leaning toward Newstat's open car window and the student rolling up the window, exiting his car, and pushing one of the Neo-Nazis. It is unclear from the video if the man spat at Newstat as the student claimed. NSM claims that deputies had told them that they were likely to charge Newstat for battery.
The Neo-Nazi group blamed "the extreme anti-White, pro-Jewish bias in the so-called justice system – which is only one of the many reasons for our protests and political activism."
NSM asserted that Orange County Sherrif John Mina's statements show that the arrest of their members was political, not legal law enforcement action.
"We will not stand for hate in our community," tweeted Mina. "We have arrested 3 people in connection with Neo Nazi rallies last weekend." He credited not only state and federal authorities for their role in the arrest, but also the assistance of the ADL.
"We are grateful for the efforts of [Mina] in bringing charges against individuals associated with the National Socialist Movement for allegedly assaulting a Jewish student during last week’s hate rally in Orlando," wrote ADL Florida. "Accountability and justice are necessary in order to ensure that Florida remains a state that will not tolerate such antisemitism and extremism. The ADL Center on Extremism is proud of our role in helping law enforcement identify the extremists who have been charged today."
NSM held a series of live-streamed rallies in the previous weeks, in which they chanted that "the Jew is the devil," "Jews rape children and drink their blood," and "Jews brought slaves here," according to the NGO StopAntisemitism.org. A video released by the NGO showed Neo-Nazis stomping on an Israeli flag.
More footage from today’s neo-Nazi NSM rally in Orlando, FL led by white supremacists Eddie McBride and Burt Colucci. Note the Israeli flag on the ground being stepped on. pic.twitter.com/cZrt4FVS9e— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) January 30, 2022
Colucci was previously indicted on January 27 for misdemeanor and felony counts for an incident in Phoenix, Arizona on April 2021 for directing racial slurs and pepper spray at black people and "recklessly" handling and displaying a firearm during the encounter, Reuters reported at the time.
NSM is one of the oldest white supremacist groups in the US. According to their 25-point manifesto, they advocate for various policies including transforming the US into a “White” ethnostate in which only those with European ancestry can be citizens, and reforming the economic system and US society to excise the "Jewish-materialistic spirit."
NSM plans to hold other events in Washington State, a convention of its national chapters and a public protest, which was delayed from April 2022 to August.