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Nazi group adopts local highway

1:55 AM, Jan 26, 2010   |    comments
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Along Highway 85 near 144th in Brighton, the Chapter of the National Socialist Movement, which calls itself America's Nazi Party, is participating in a state Adopt-A-Highway program - complete with a road sign.

The white supremacist group will be responsible for picking up trash on a one-mile stretch of the road.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says it allowed the highway adoption because the group's lawyers say it could violate free speech if they denied the request.

"Our initial inclination was to deny their application, then we got legal guidance," Stacey Stegman, a spokeswoman for CDOT, said. "We looked at what has gone on in other states. We talked with the Anti-Defamation League and found out that we really had no ground to deny them.

"We were considering denying them based on the fact that there could be a potential for violence, not that there was," Stegman continued. "And so right now, we are giving them the benefit of the doubt."

Cpl. Neal Land, a spokesman for the movement, says his group stands for "white rights" and "purity of race" and should be allowed to clean the highway.

"Definitely, I want people to know we're in the state, we're active in this state, and most of all, we're doing good things in this state," Land said. "We're not a group that's out there selling drugs, running guns. We don't support any illegal activity of any sort."

The group, which Land says has six active members and several other followers, plans on picking up trash this weekend along the highway. Land says they plan to clean the stretch several times a year.

"We're going to be active with community service, yes, we're going to be active with demonstrations, flyers," Land said.

Stegman says US 85 is a major truck route through the state with a lot of industrial traffic.

"It's a dirty highway," Stegman said. "So it needs all the help it can get."

Stegman says any group is welcome to help keep highways clean.

"We're not the moral police," Stegman said. "We're not going to decide who's right and who's wrong. That's not our role."

Land says the group will not wear swastikas on its clothing while cleaning up this weekend, because it doesn't want to incite violence or distract drivers.

"Nothing wrong with trying to make our country a little cleaner," Land said.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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