Volusia, Florida Sheriff Mike Chitwood Goes Nuclear on Neo-Nazi ‘Motherf*ckers’
One week after one neo-fascist hate groups circulating throughout the Daytona Beach, Florida area displaying and spreading extremist propaganda, the county’s top police have had enough.
“These scoundrels have come to the wrong county… We will not tolerate this,” boiling Volusia Police Chief Mike Chitwood said at a news conference Monday. “This is not about freedom of speech. This is about violence.
Chitwood identified the Goyim Defense League (GDL) as the organization behind the disruptive behavior, including walking away. anti-infection leaflet on everyone’s doorstep and hang anti-Semitic banner from crowded pedestrian bridges during the Daytona 500 weekend. On February 17, GDL staged a protest outside South Orlando’s Chabad, harassing pedestrians and motorists. Bowl, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The next day, members hung signs at the Daytona International Speedway with statements like: “Henry Ford was right about the Jews.” They then projected anti-Semitic slogans outside the track, with a line that read, “Hitler was right.”
Chitwood on Monday named GDL head Jon Minadeo as the ringleader, noting that he recently moved from his home state of California after a grandma’s shop almost no longer in business due to its obstinate activities. GDL stands behind a burned swastika near Austin, Texas in 2021, just hours after a local synagogue burned. (In one pre-interview with The Daily BeastMinadeo denied having any connection to the suspect in that case, stressing that the GDL, classified as hate group by the ADL, has “never, ever done anything violent against a Jew.”)
Chitwood, who made no secret of his anger, said a group of GDL members from various states spent last weekend walking up and down Daytona’s International Speedway while thousands of fans were inside. town to participate in races, “screaming profanities” from the back of a car. U-Haul truck rental. He said he didn’t “see anything that these people could say this is First Amendment.” [protected speech]. This is nothing but pure, pure, pure evil.”
Chitwood combed through a long list of arrests and charges against the approximately 15 GDLers seen in the town included in their records.
“Let’s take a look at these cowardly cowards,” he said, before leading reporters through the gallery of the suspected fraudsters involved. Their raps include stalking, threatening a state official, aggravated assault, murder, terror threats, vandalism for defacing a memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre, and soliciting sex with a 14-year-old child.
Chitwood then told those gathered in front of him that many of the people in the room — including him — as well as Jews from around the country, were on the GDL’s “hacked list.”
Chitwood called it a “badge of honor,” challenging GDL to come and “put a bullet in the back of my head.”
“That’s my message to you: do it,” he said. “You want to try to hack into my computer and install child pornography on it with a bunch of people with an IQ of 12? Just give it a try. I challenge you to go for it. You want to monitor me 24 hours [a day]? Just give it a try. And the best thing is: will you hit me and make me unable to choose? Just give it a try. You have come to the wrong county. I stand with my Jewish friends and I am honored to be on your list of successes. It’s an honor to be hunted down by a bunch of punk thugs like you.
According to Chitwood, the biggest concern is that a group like the GDL will radicalize the “next active shooter”.
“I don’t think they have the guts to pull the trigger themselves, but they know there’s someone out there who will carry out their orders,” he said.
Chitwood began his career as a police officer in Philadelphia. A decade and a half later, he was appointed Superintendent of the Shawnee Police Department in Oklahoma. He then served as superintendent of the Daytona Beach Police Department for 10 years before being elected sheriff of Volusia County.
In an interview with The Daily Beast after Monday’s press conference, Chitwood had something to say to Minadeo and his team, calling their beliefs “odd.”
“Forgive me for my French, but damn it, you bastard,” he said.
Chitwood recalls “the real, palpable fear in the Jewish community when these guys came to town.” He said he was motivated to act by a sense of anger that malicious opposers would freely use his jurisdiction to base their bigotry. He said he’s “tired of holding community meetings, you know, we’re all going to hold hands and pray.”
“No, this is more than that,” said Chitwood. “…I have to get out there and be as strong as I can, to emphasize: You’ve come to the wrong place.”
Chitwood pointed out that a few days after the incident on the highway, a man in California is said to have taken inspiration from the GDL shot two orthodox Jews outside a synagogue in Los Angeles. He vowed to “quench” extremism by any means possible, saying, “If you stand still and do nothing, violence and intimidation will prevail.”