A jury seated at the Palm Beach County Courthouse unanimously found a neo-Nazi guilty Wednesday of a littering charge, which some say has much larger repercussions.
Jon Minadeo’s day ended in handcuffs with a 30-day jail sentence.
The Jewish advocacy group StopAntisemitism has been tracking the activities of Jon Minadeo of the Goyim Defense League’ or ‘GDL’ for nearly five years and state they vilify Jews with their premeditated hate campaigns.
WFLX spoke to Minadeo just before the verdict.
“I do believe they’re trying to censor free speech by using tactics like littering,” Minadeo said.
The case dates back to March 2023 when West Palm Beach police found Minadeo and a group of men tossing antisemitic literature from a U-Haul truck.
People in the courtroom, like Maxine Sutherland, called the flyers hate speech and said it was important for her to show up.
“Because I’m a Jew,” Sutherland said, “and the hideous vile hatred that these men were throwing at people’s doors, they have no right to do it.”
Minadeo’s offense missed the passage of HB 269 by a matter of months. The measure was introduced by Republican state Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, in a direct response to hate in the state.
“[The law] expands the penalties on crimes already in the Florida statutes which when carried out by an individual who displays religious or ethnic intimidation threat or attempt to harm to that of a hate crime punishable by a third-degree felony,” Caruso said.
He went on to say those crimes can include the dumping of litter or projection of images on buildings, things that have happened in West Palm Beach under the umbrella of hate speech.
“I believe that HB 269 is unconstitutional,” Minadeo said.
In the meantime, Sutherland said it was important to take a stand.
“We have to work with it we have to have the courage to speak up and not let these thugs get away with just their pure evil.”