MOOSIC — A group that said it promotes the rights of white people had scheduled a six-hour rally at a public park in Moosic for this Saturday.
However, on Wednesday, Moosic officials denied permission for the group to use the borough park after people started asking questions about the organization and its intentions.
That group is called the European American Action Coalition. Its founder, who is from Luzerne County, calls it the NAACP for white people. He had planned a small gathering Saturday with a presidential candidate who thinks that minorities are “degenerating” U.S. society.
Now, the meeting has become a stand-off between the group and Moosic borough officials.
The Mercatili-Segilia Park is usually peaceful spot in Moosic, that’s now become a battleground between the borough and an advocacy group.
The group’s leader, Steve Smith, is from Luzerne County. He asked for a permit to use the park on Saturday, but, borough officials said they were misled about Smith’s intentions and he violated borough policy.
Borough council president Joe Mercatili, who’s a namesake for the park, said they only allow residents to use the park for gatherings. And, when Smith went to Moosic for a permit he lied about living there.
So, that gave the borough grounds to cancel the group’s permit.
“I was angered that somebody would lie, after I found out the truth, that somebody would lie about the use of a property, and now it looks like we’re going to have to change our whole policy,” said Mercatili.
Newswatch 16 was able to reach the group’s founder, Steve Smith, by phone and he admitted he used a friend’s address to book the park. However, he said he’s had the same picnic at the park for the past two years without any problems, and he still plans to be there on Saturday.
“Oh, there will be no rally there. They are going to have to run over me,” replied Mercatili.
Borough officials said the park should not be used for political purposes, and they are prepared to have police patrols on hand Saturday in case The European American Action Coalition decides to show up anyway.
Neighbors said, no matter what happens, they plan to stay away.
“Kind of don’t know what’s going to happen, I’ve got five kids, so I don’t want to be home,” said Ruth Robbins.
The founder of The European American Action Coalition, Steve Smith, has been a controversial political figure in Luzerne County. He’s a former skinhead that caused backlash earlier this year when he was elected to the Luzerne County Republican Committee.