North End resident wins case, slams NazisWritten by Michael Brooks | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Szych, the Bronson Street resident whose dispute with a neighbor was used by the National Socialist Movement (NSM) as justification for a failed Oct. 15 rally, recently had criminal charges against him dismissed.
Szych was able to reclaim his .38 caliber pistol and ammunition, seized by Toledo Police on Aug. 3 after neighbor children claimed he pulled his gun on them.
The length of time it took for the case to work its way through the system was frustrating, Szych said.
”The court kept sending me back to a mediator to settle the dispute,” he said. ”I finally demanded my day in court, because I knew that I had done nothing wrong.”
Szych said his lawyer is finishing work on a lawsuit against officials of the City and NSM. He said he was unfairly targeted as the reason for the neo-Nazi group’s demand to march in Toledo.
”The mayor and the police chief both knew that I was not involved, but kept naming me as the cause for the Nazis coming,” he said. ”Their actions caused people to blame me and attack my house.”
Szych was especially angry at the actions of the neo-Nazis.
”I never met with NSM at any time,” he said, adding he has an affidavit from an NSM spokesman to that effect. ”They showed up in September and spoke to my dad, but never told him who they were. They just said that they were setting up an organization to deal with gang problems.”
Szych said his father felt deceived by the NSM.
”Once he found out that they were Nazis, he told them to leave,” he said. ”My dad was even angrier when they tried to con my brother the same way.”
One of the most difficult things for his family has been the accusations that Szych is a racist, he said.
”If I was a racist, why would I live in this neighborhood, or send my kids to an integrated school?” he asked. ”Why would I sit on my front porch and hang out with one of my friends, who happens to be black?”
A neighbor filed a complaint alleging aggravated menacing against Szych, and claimed the incident occurred during the riot.
”There was a big problem with the complaint, though,” he said. ”I wasn’t even in town that day. Luckily, I had the paperwork to prove to the investigating detective that I was in another state that day.”
Szych, who volunteers as a local PTA officer, said concerned parents at one of his children’s schools began to make wild accusations.
”One parent insisted that I show her the PTA’s books and prove that I was not using organization money to fund the Nazis,” he said, adding that things are beginning to return to normal. ”So we had to go to the principal’s office and answer this ridiculous accusation that was based on faulty information.”
Szych said he is charitable toward those who rioted and vandalized his home and property.
”The rioters did some stupid and violent things, but they were mostly kids,” he said. ”What they did was not right, but the City never should have allowed the Nazis to come in the neighborhood. I would be mad, too, if I was a kid and the Nazis showed up like that.”
Szych had especially strong words for NSM’s Bill White.
”If he were here right now, I would tell him to kiss my ass,” he said. ”The man lied and twisted everything to fit his own agenda. When I found out about it and called him on it, he just said: ‘I wouldn’t be able to get anyone to show up if I told the truth.’ ”