Mayoral candidates discuss preventing Charlottesville-style riots

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TOLEDO - No one wants a repeat of what happened in Toledo in 2005 when a neo-nazi group came to protest.

Riots lasted hours. Businesses were destroyed. More than 100 people were arrested.

In Charlottesville, VA more violence, this weekend, and hate groups vow to spread their message to other cities.

But all cities could learn from Toledo's experience when the nazi's returned here in 2015.

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson had just become mayor after the death of D. Michael Collins.

She says, "Wwhat we were able to do was aggressively limit their ability to speak."

Hicks-Hudson had been mayor just a couple months when the neo-nazi's came back.

But that next time, trouble was avoided.

The mayor says, "We had a strong police presence with very clear agreements as to where they could go and how soon we could get them out of town."

But in Charlottesville, white supremacists, left-wing anarchists and more peaceful protesters battled each other in the streets.

Democratic mayoral candidate, Wade Kapszukiewicz says, "These are Americans battling Americans."

While Kapszukiewicz does not want to limit anyone's right to free speech. He would not refuse protest permits.

But he would give his police chief a strong hand in how to keep the peace.

Kapszukiewicz says, "Anything we can do to allow folks to express themselves as they have the right to do under the First Amendment but not create an environment where violence is more likely are things we ought to do."

Republican Tom Waniewski calls himself a law-and-order. He says, "To allow someone to throw a brick through a businessman's window is not something I would tolerate."

Waniewski believes the real threat to Toledo comes from agitators from *outside* Toledo.

He says you have to lay down the law with protesters and follow through if they violate that law.

Waniewski says, "I think the rule of law has to be established. You draw a line in the sand. You are going to be in our community, you're going to abide by our laws."

So on this issue, the candidates pretty much speak with one voice.

Each would allow the police to dictate strategy with regard to handling protesters.

Each would encourage separating opposing protest groups.

And each believes Toledo created a model in 2015 that guaranteed protester rights and protected public safety.



 
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