Updated: Jan. 9, 4 p.m.
The city of Whitefish received an incomplete application for a special event permit from a neo-Nazi website purportedly planning an armed march next week in downtown.
Whitefish City Manager Chuck Stearns said the application from The Daily Stormer arrived in the mail on Jan. 9, but it was largely incomplete.
“We are still reviewing the application but we cannot act on an incomplete application,” Stearns said.
The city received a cover page of the required application seeking a permit for a march on Second Street from Memorial Park to City Hall on Jan. 16 from 4-7 p.m. A $65 money order was attached to the application, well short of the city’s required $125 fee for parades. Also, the application did not include a certificate of insurance, a map of the planned route or a checklist of other items required before the city reviews an application.
No other correspondence was attached to the application, Stearns said.
Last week, Andrew Anglin, founder of The Daily Stormer, published a photo of his application to the city of Whitefish to hold a special event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which Anglin is calling “James Earl Ray Day Extravaganza,” referring to the assassin who shot and killed the civil rights leader.
Anglin has spearheaded a “troll storm” in recent weeks, encouraging followers of The Daily Stormer to target local Jewish residents and businesses with harassment and threats through social media and phone calls. He has since announced his intention to bus in neo-Nazis and white supremacists for an armed march against local Jewish residents and businesses.
Support has poured in for Whitefish and its religious community, and Montana’s elected leaders, including the governor and both U.S. senators, have condemned the anti-Semitic and white nationalistic views.
No crimes have been committed locally, but Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial said his department has received a significant amount of inquiries about the troll storm and potential march in Whitefish, along with residents expressing concern and anxiety.
City officials say the police department continues to refine its operational plan to ensure the safety of residents and visitors in the event of the neo-Nazi march.
Last weekend, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Whitefish to celebrate diversity and inclusivity at an event called “Love Not Hate.” The Jan. 7 block party focused on Whitefish’s spirit of acceptance, with live music and speeches delivered by a diverse cast of community leaders and artists.