Update: Just before midnight, after a marathon meeting, Hollywood’s city commissioners voted 5-1 to rename Forrest, Hood, and Lee Streets, though the new names have not yet been decided. After five hours of heated debate, Mayor Josh Levy, Commissioners Kevin Biederman, Dick Blattner, Linda Sherwood, and Debra Case voted in favor. Vice Mayor Traci Callari voted against, and Commissioner Peter Hernandez left before the vote, citing a violation in procedure. Next week, commissioners will meet once again to discuss potential replacements for the street names.
Here's a clip of Monzon charging toward the activists and trying to stab them with his flag:
Hollywood commissioners will vote today on whether to rename three streets that honor Confederate generals — John Hood, Robert E. Lee, and Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. In the leadup to today's vote, local civil rights activists said they feared that in a post-Charlottesville world, white supremacists might harass or try to hurt the people protesting for equality.
Well, it appears the activists might have been right: Today a local white supremacist, Christopher Rey Monzon (who is 22 and goes by the online handle "Chris Cedeno"), was arrested after witnesses say he charged into the crowd of civil rights protesters. A New Times reporter watched the event unfold: Monzon was standing near the entrance to Hollywood City Hall, in front of a police line that separated him from 150 to 200 protesters. Cedeno was filmed jawing back and forth with a protester from roughly ten feet away.
"You are a cancer on the face of the earth!" Monzon shouted. "All Jews are!"
He then ran directly at the crowd with a flagpole pointed toward the protesters. Cops were filmed tackling Monzon and taking him away Monzon in handcuffs.
A spokesperson for Hollywood Police said Monzon has been charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and inciting a riot.
Monzon was photographed at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month, where a white supremacist drove a Dodge Charger into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
Protesters with the Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward County, the South Florida chapter of the Women's March, and a group called Take Them Down Hollywood attended today's city commission meeting.
Monzon showed up at the protest in a shirt emblazoned with the logo for the Florida League of the South, a white nationalist group that wants the Confederate states to secede from the Union again and create a society led by white, Christian people of European descent.
Today Monzon waved a flag that combined the classic Confederate "stars and bars" with the black-and-white League of the South logo:
The Cuban neo-Nazi dude who shows up at South Florida marches was just arrested for charging Confederate street sign protesters in Hollywood pic.twitter.com/z77x1uI3D3— Tim Elfrink (@timelfrinkmia) August 30, 2017
Monzon is a known commodity in South Florida: He has regularly shown up at progressive protests and waved the Confederate flag or League of the South regalia. After former state Sen. Frank Artiles was caught dropping the N-word in front of a black lawmaker, Monzon showed up at a protest in order to defend Artiles. Monzon wore a neo-Nazi pin on his shirt collar:
Monzon also showed up at the last protest against the Confederate street names in Hollywood in June. At that event, Monzon, other white supremacists, and members of the armed militia Three Percenters counterprotested against civil rights organizers.
Hollywood state Rep. Shevrin Jones, a black man, joined Black Lives Matter Alliance protesters to demand the street names be changed. Jones said he was called a "nigger," a "monkey," and told to "go back to where [he] came from." Jones also said an elderly black woman left the protest because the counterprotesters reminded her of the segregated 1960s.
At the July protest, the website Rise News interviewed Monzon and called him the "Cuban-American 'Clayton Bigsby,'" referencing an old Chappelle's Show skit in which a prominent Klansman turns out to be a blind black guy.
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Other members of the Florida League of the South were heavily involved in the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month: The leader of the state chapter, Michael Tubbs, was filmed standing next to white supremacists who used sticks and blunt objects to beat a black man, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As Monzon was carried away, one local civil-rights organizer, who gave her name as "Kema," repeatedly told the crowd to remain peaceful and not "engage" any of the other counter-protesters.
"This is the first time we've seen a white supremacist arrested instead of us," someone in the crowd said.
This is a breaking post. This story will be updated.