Henry Pierson Curtis / Orlando Sentinel | February 15, 2007
A paid FBI informant was the man behind a neo-Nazi march through the
streets of Parramore that stirred up anxiety in Orlando’s black
community and fears of racial unrest that triggered a major police
mobilization.
That revelation came Wednesday in an unrelated federal court hearing
and has prompted outrage from black leaders, some of whom demanded an
investigation into whether the February 2006 march was, itself, an
event staged by law-enforcement agencies.
The FBI would not comment on what it knew about the involvement of its
informant, 39-year-old David Gletty of Orlando, in the neo-Nazi event.
In court Wednesday, an FBI agent said the bureau has paid its
informant at least $20,000 during the past two years.
Neo-Nazi Rally Feb. 25, 2006
“Wow,” Gletty said when reached by phone late Wednesday. “It is what
it is. You were there in court. I can’t really go into any detail now.”
Orlando City Councilwoman Daisy Lynum, whose district includes the
march route west of Interstate 4, said she wants to know who was
behind the march, the neo-Nazis or the FBI and other law-enforcement
agencies.
“If it was staged, I would feel very uncomfortable and would ask for a
full-scale investigation,” Lynum said. “To come into a predominantly
black community which could have resulted in great harm to the black
community? I would hate to be part of a game. It’s a mockery to the
community for someone else to be playing a game with the community.”
Others applauded the FBI’s infiltration of the neo-Nazis.
“It’s one of the largest extremist groups in the country, and Gletty
was one of the most visible individuals in the National Socialist
Movement,” said Andy Rosenkranz, state regional director for the
Anti-Defamation League. “Generally, the FBI and the JTTF (Joint
Terrorism Task Force) in Florida does an excellent job.”
Rally puts city in spotlight
Orlando drew national attention when the city granted a permit to
Gletty so a minimum of 100 white supremacists and National Socialist
Movement members could march Feb. 25 through the historically black
Parramore neighborhood.
From the National Socialist Website Overthrow.com: NSM Members Listen
to (now known FBI informant) David Gletty before a rally.
Wearing swastikas and holding signs declaring “White Pride,” the 22
neo-Nazis who turned out were protected from 500 counterprotesters by
about 300 police officers.
Gletty’s secret life became public Wednesday in a federal court
hearing resulting from the arrest last week of two suspected white
supremacists on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.
Last Thursday, the FBI arrested Tom Martin, 23, and John Rock, 35,
after Gletty wore a wire to a meeting and agreed to help them rob a
drug dealer in Casselberry, according to testimony.
Rock told Gletty in a tape-recorded conversation that he and Martin
had robbed seven drug dealers by posing as law-enforcement officers,
according to testimony. Martin and Rock remain held without bail in
the Seminole County Jail.
Slip-up lets name out of bag
Throughout most of the hearing, Gletty was referred to as “Mr. X” or
“CW” (cooperating witness). His identity was revealed when Assistant
Federal Public Defender Peter W. Kenny repeatedly slipped up and
mentioned Gletty’s full name.
FBI agent Kevin Farrington and a federal prosecutor were clearly
uncomfortable with the disclosure of the informant’s name in open court.
Questioned about Gletty’s role in the march, Farrington testified that
“he participated in it. He did not organize it. . . . [That’s] pretty
good firsthand information, sir.”
The city parade permit, however, lists Gletty as the “on scene event
manager.”
And pictures of Gletty addressing marchers sporting swastika armbands
for the Orlando rally appear on a neo-Nazi Web site. Captions from
other photos on the site mock the counterdemonstrators and the police
presence.
On another Web site, Gletty details his role in organizing the Orlando
event and hosting a victory party afterward.
“On 1/17/06 I got the permits and started the ball rolling,” he
writes. “On 2/25/06 at 3 pm on saturday [sic] in downtown Orlando My
crew and I got it done.”
In another part of the posting, he writes: “Since I was the permit
holder I was the person to deal with the police and had over-all
authority of the event.”
No word from FBI
FBI officials did not return calls asking for specifics about the
agency’s relationship with Gletty. A tree-trimmer in Orlando, he
withdrew from the National Socialist Movement last fall to pursue
other projects, Farrington testified.
Orlando police Deputy Chief Pete Gauntlett, who supervised the march
preparations, would not say what the FBI told police about Gletty and
other marchers.
“We let them express their free speech and let them do what they’re
allowed to do, but we wanted to have control,” Gauntlett said.
Bill White, a former spokesman for the National Socialist Movement who
participated in the rally and now runs another neo-Nazi group, said he
was surprised to hear of Gletty’s involvement with the FBI. He said
Gletty did a lot for the cause.
A neo-Nazi offers his take
“If he was being sponsored by the FBI, then American National
Socialism has a lot to thank the FBI for,” White said in an e-mail.
Lynum said that if the FBI was behind the march, she would like the
agency to reimburse the city for the tens of thousands it spent to
send officers — including SWAT-team and mounted-unit members — to
police the march.
Adora Obi Nweze, president of the State Conference NAACP in Miami,
said she was disturbed an informant set up the march and was working
for the FBI.
Neo-Nazi rally was organized by FBI informant
“That’s very troubling that somebody like that would be an informant
for the FBI,” she said. “You never know what they are capable of. No
question, it bothers me.”
But Alzo Reddick, a former state legislator who grew up in segregated
Orlando, lived through KKK marches and later taught black history,
said he was proud of the way the police and the community responded.
He was a member of the “Be Cool” movement organized to calm the
community before the march.
“I think law enforcement has to walk in some murky places to be where
the bad guys are,” Reddick said. “Was the FBI informant an activist or
a participant? Was he the agent provocateur from the get-go? Sure,
that would be part of what I’d like to know.”
Rene Stutzman, Jim Leusner and Willoughby Mariano of the Sentinel
staff contributed to this report. Henry Pierson Curtis can be reached
at hcurtis@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5257.

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