FBI Won't Monitor Columbia for Nazi March
The FBI does not plan on sending agents to monitor Saturday's parade by the National Socialist Movement.
In fact, the FBI is not even very involved in preventing hate crimes, which are attacks motivated by bias.
Instead, they react and prosecute violations of civil rights.
The closest division headquarters for the FBI is in Kansas City.
Agents will stay home this weekend despite concerns about the possibility of violence surrounding the neo-Nazi parade.
"Just conducting a parade that may be designed to intimidate people in general probably would not cross the line into criminal activity," FBI agent Jeff Lanza said.
Lanza admits the FBI keeps a list of groups that espouse hate, but he said it cannot track these groups based on their ideologies.
"The FBI does not track or monitor any groups, we investigate criminal activity," Lanza explained.
Though the National Socialist Movement clearly supports bias against ethnic groups, the FBI said simply sharing those opinions is not a problem.
"The line gets crossed when the intimidation is done to affect the victim's rights," Lanza said. "Their right to practice their religion, to live where they want, to go where they want to go to school. The freedoms we enjoy as American citizens."
The Patriot Act makes it easier for the FBI to communicate with other agencies to keep an eye on hate criminals and possible terrorists, but the first amendment still protects free speech and demonstration.
"I think I would rather have those freedoms than to have those types of things forbidden and live in a country like that," Lanza said.
The FBI will be involved if hate crimes do result from Saturday's march.
You can contact the Kansas City FBI to report hate crimes by calling (816) 512-8200.