Barely a week after brawling with antifascists outside a Richard Spencer speaking event at Michigan State University, Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party, has been charged with domestic battery.
Indiana court filings show that state prosecutors filed two charges, battery and domestic battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old, against Heimbach on Tuesday. The high-profile national socialist was released on $1,000 bond. Neither Heimbach nor the Orange County Prosecutor’s Office immediately responded to requests for comment.
The charges come as Heimbach is engaged in a power struggle with Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, over the strategy and direction of the increasingly fractured alt right. Following Heimbach’s arrest, his father-in-law and TWP co-founder Matt Parrott told the Southern Poverty Law Center that he was stepping away from the organization. “I’m done. I’m out,” Parrott said. “SPLC has won. Matt Parrott is out of the game. Y’all have a nice life.”
According to WHAS 11, charging documents allege that Heimbach assaulted Parrott during an argument over an affair before turning on his wife, Parrott’s daughter, pushing her and grabbing her face in front of their two children.
The Traditionalist Worker Party and its allies are to be found in the thick of the fighting wherever militant antifascists and antiracists clash with the far right, the skirmishes in Michigan last week being just the most recent example and the rally in Charlottesville in August being the most deadly. Last year, following a street fight in Sacramento, CA, in which 10 people were hospitalized, including five with stab wounds, TWP members, along with members of the Golden State Skinheads, an affiliate group, collaborated with police to identify and prosecute the antifascist and antiracist activists who had confronted them. Party members appeared to have assaulted an interracial couple at a restaurant after a “White Lives Matter” rally in Tennessee in November.
In 2016, Kashiya Nwanguma was shoved and shouted at by Trump supporters while protesting at a campaign rally; a lawsuit alleging that Trump incited violence against her and other demonstrators when he said “Get ‘em out of here” names Heimbach, who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in July. Jail time was suspended, barring his being charged with another offense within the next two years; Heimbach faces a probation hearing in Kentucky on June 1. In court filings, Heimbach denies that he physically assaulted anyone and argues that he “acted pursuant to the directives and requests of Donald J. Trump” and that “any liability must be shifted to one or both of them.” Discovery in the case is ongoing.
UPDATE, 03/13/2018, 8:25 P.M ET: The SPLC has some additional details about the incident:
The step-daughter told police that Heimbach and Parrott’s wife had been having an affair for three months. Heimbach and Parrott’s wife said the fling had ended.
The step-daughter and Parrott’s wife tried to set up Heimbach to see if he would continue the affair after saying it was over, police said in a report.
During the set up at Parrott’s Paoli trailer home, Matthew Parrott and his step-daughter waited outside, standing on a box and watching through a window, police said.
A confrontation ensued between Heimbach and Matt Parrott. Parrott told police Heimbach twisted him down to the ground, then “choked [him] out.”
“He grabbed and injured my hand after I poked his chest then choke me out with his arm,” Parrott said in a hand-written statement to police. “Then he chased me to my home and did it again.”