Protester outside Ohio statehouse with sign saying The Real Plague with a rat with a swatiska on it

Photos: Neo-Nazi Matthew Paul Slatzer of Canton was a relatively new member of the National Socialist Movement when he showed up in front of the Statehouse back in April. 

Just how at-risk was Dr. Amy Acton when alt-right protesters showed up at the Ohio Statehouse and her home back in May?

And how at-risk could protesters and activists be on July 4th?

There are rumors circulating online saying white nationalists, Proud Boys, and perhaps those who lust for the “Boogaloo” will confront Black Lives Matter protesters this weekend. 

These are rumors, the Free Press has not confirmed whether any alt-right response is official, but don’t forget what happened in Bethel, Ohio, when 800 bikers some armed showed up to confront peaceful protesters. One of the biker gangs that showed in Bethel was confirmed to be the racist-leaning and known drug dealing Iron Horsemen, which was founded in Cincinnati and on a Department of Justice watchlist.

Boogaloos Bois, as we’ve come to learn of late, are a loose-knit network of far-right gun-lovers who secretly yearn for a civil war against the government, lefties, and people of color.

This off-the-rails movement has gained serious traction during the pandemic as right-wing extremists cry foul over the pandemic lockdowns, believing them to be a Deep State plot to take their liberties.

The Boogaloos have also taken a liking to showing up at George Floyd protests, as many are virulent racists hoping to antagonize protesters.

Indeed, in late May, self-proclaimed Boogaloo and US Air Force veteran Steve Carrillo shot and killed a federal officer in Oakland. BLM protests were ongoing nearby as Carrillo had hoped the officer’s death would be pinned to them.

The watchdog group Tech Transparency Project recently found 125 Facebook groups dedicated to the Boogaloo with 60 percent created this year alone. The good news is Facebook on June 30th banned all Boogaloo-related accounts.

Here in Columbus the threat of white racist extremists has some on edge as protests and rallies are scheduled for Saturday downtown and in front of City Hall.

Back in April when far-righters converged on the Ohio Statehouse to protest Dr. Amy Acton’s lockdown directives, one protester carried a sign that read “The Real Plague” with an image of a blue rat and the star of David.

What many don’t know is that the bald, white 30-something man who was holding that sign had recently become a new member of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), a long-time neo-Nazi group with a violent and murderous past.

His name is Matthew Paul Slatzer, a 36-year-old from Canton and currently in jail, this according to the website The Informant. Slatzer was sworn in to the NSM just this year along with Timothy Wilson, who this March was killed in a gun battle with the FBI after they discovered he was hastening plans to bomb a Kansas City hospital due to his anger over the lockdowns.

It’s not known whether Slatzer was seen protesting outside Dr. Acton’s house. But during the May 21st webinar “Hate and anti-Semitism in Ohio during COVID-19” hosted by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Jewish Community Relations Council, it was revealed that Slatzer may have been planning some type of attack around the Kent State shooting anniversary, as reported by Cleveland Jewish News.

“Fast forward several weeks after this protest, and law enforcement is actually investigating a subsequent incident where we know that he entered a convenience store (Stow, Ohio) around the anniversary of the Kent State shooting in that area wearing a black T-shirt with a Nazi symbol and swastika, black tactical pants and boots, a Nazi tattoo on the back of his head,” said Jackie Congedo director of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Jewish Community Relations Council, during the webinar.

“And he had a hatchet and a machete, and he was asking where he could find Jews. He told the clerk he was an Aryan Brother, for those of you who may not be familiar with the Aryan Brotherhood, which is a Nazi organization, and he said that he intended to go to Kent State to find Jews.”

The FBI arrested Slatzer May 8th for missing drug tests while awaiting trial on gun charges. He has since been indicted on those charges.

The Free Press spoke with several protesters who are attending Saturday’s events and are aware online rumors of potential Boogaloo(sers) and other far righters going off the deep end because of the patriotic holiday.

“Not really,” said LGBTQ activist and regular BLM protester Drew Michael Wunder when asked if he was intimidated by any threat from far-right extremists or counter protesters. “I think most of us weigh the importance of this fight and this protest and the long-term results of it than anything the nationalists could do to us.”

Wunder is scheduled to speak Saturday in front of City Hall. Inspired by the legacy of the Stonewall uprising, Wunder has been downtown too many nights to remember. His popular drag queen persona Bubble the Drag Queen has made the 26-year-old a local celebrity of sorts.

So when he went Facebook live to document downtown protests, he clocked 30,000 views. Suddenly he became a leader and a voice for the movement – and rightfully so.

He plans on offering some spoken word, 1950s beatnik-style to his speech on Saturday.

“It’s simply going to be about how this is not the time to question ourselves and say, ‘I’m white and I shouldn’t be a part of this, I should just be listening,’” said Wunder. “Basically, the whole sum of it is, that protesters, black, white, or any color, would you rather get involved, do something and do it wrongly, and apologize for it, or do nothing at all?”

Strong and inspiring words from a peaceful protester in the face of the anxiety offered by those who are so miserable from our growing diversity they are fantasizing for a civil war.

Hopefully the Boogaloos will keep such fantasies nothing more than a wet dream.