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May 26, 2020 1:52 pm

Neo-Nazi Spotted With Antisemitic Sign at Ohio Protest Later Sought to Kill Jews at Kent State

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A man holding an antisemitic sign at a protest in Columbus, Ohio. Photo: Twitter.

An Ohio man who was seen brandishing an antisemitic sign at a protest in Columbus, Ohio, in April also threatened to kill Jews at Kent State University in a separate incident in early May.

The Cleveland Jewish News reported that Jackie Congedo – the director of the Cincinnati Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council — spoke about the incident during a webinar on coronavirus-related antisemitism last week.

Describing a man at the Columbus protest who was carrying a sign that portrayed a religious Jew as a rat under the words “the real plague,” Congedo said, “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 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.”

“And he had a hatchet and a machete, and he was asking where he could find Jews,” Congedo said. “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 incident apparently took place on May 3.

Kent State University Hillel’s executive director, Adam Hirsh, corroborated Congedo’s account, saying that his organization had been notified and law enforcement had taken appropriate action to ensure the safety of Jewish students.

The police in the town of Stow, where the convenience store incident occurred, did not confirm the suspect’s name, but Lt. Dennis Garren of the Canton Police Department said that it was Matthew Slatzer, 36, of Canton.

“I work very closely with our local synagogue, and we’re very aware of the threat that Mr. Slatzer poses to the Jewish community, and are in constant communication with the synagogue about the safety and security of their congregation,” Slatzer said.

State Representative Casey Weinstein said of the incident, “When you see people take that next step of making threats and action toward violence, it’s very sobering. And it reminds me of the stakes of the fight we’re in right now.”

In April, Weinstein had posted an image of the man believed to be Slatzer on Twitter.

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