Red border state of Ohio image with word hate inside and line through it like a "no" sign and the words Free Press on top

Why does it seem, ever since the Charlottesville incident, that so many racist roads lead to Ohio? James Alex Fields, Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, ran his car into the counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring several others. The “Huffington Post” of the white supremacist movement, The Daily Stormer website, is the creation of Worthington’s own Linworth High School graduate Andrew Anglin. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 27 white supremacist groups in Ohio.

It may not be just the overt racist groups we should consider – sometimes the haters could be civil servants, like firemen from northeastern Ohio, as the following story reveals.

Shawnee Township Fire Chief Todd Truesdale’s 45th birthday inspired his fellow firefighters to throw him a party with a Nazi-themed birthday cake – decorating the cake are the words “German Fire Dept” encircling a swatiska, on the left-hand corner sits a tall replica of an oven also with a swastika on the side, and cake decorating frosting depicts presumably Jewish people marching toward the oven.

Platoon Chief Paul Way, a 28-year veteran of Ohio’s Shawnee Township Fire Department, filed a civil rights claim in 2012 against the Chief Truesdale and the fire department. In his suit, Way described a culture where Township firefighters saluted their Chief Nazi-style with the cry of “Heil Hitler!” Truesdale documented the Nazi salute in many photos.

Firefighters even gave Truesdale the Nazi salute in front of township trustees, according to court findings. In fact following Way’s complaint, after consulting with Truesdale/Hitler, the trustees placed Way on administrative leave presumably to preserve the township’s Fourth Reich.

At Way’s disciplinary hearing, his hearing officer, a local attorney, found that the township trustees and the Fire Chief did not commit any serious violations that exposed the (department) or any persons in the general public to risk. It was all fun and games.

According to a federal judge’s opinion, “Photographs showed firefighters engaging in misconduct in the station, in public areas, at fire sites, on the fire truck, during training and at department social events.” In addition, the court found that “The use of homophobic slurs also was routine in the Department.” The court went on to say “…such slurs also appeared on birthday cakes for the firefighters.”

To add to the small town family values theme, court record indicates that “Truesdale himself often referred to Way as a ‘faggot,’ though he knew Way’s son was gay.” On Way’s birthday, the department presented him with a cake saying, “Happy Birthday Fag.” When Way complained about the fire department’s racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic culture, he was fired.

Shawnee Township settled with Way last year. Todd Truesdale remains as Fire Chief Fuehrer.

The Free Press policy is to expose all white supremacists. At their core, their ideology embraces genocide. People have a right to know if their neighbors are racist genocidal terrorists.

In the mid-1990s, the Free Press put out Wanted posters of the eight leading white supremacists in the state of Ohio. Five of them fled the state once their neighbors and communities learned of their dedication to hate.

Ignoring neo-Nazis and white supremacists will not make them go away. Exposing them, confronting them, and making as much noise as possible whenever they appear in public is the only course of action. 

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