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Archive for Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Rabbi, neo-Nazi charged in fight at KCI

April 20, 2005

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— Two Kansas men -- one a rabbi and the other a Nazi sympathizer -- were charged with disorderly conduct at Kansas City International Airport after the rabbi took issue with the other man's Nazi insignia and punched him in the face.

Airport police said the altercation happened Sunday evening after Rabbi David S. Fine, 36, of Congregation Beth Israel Abraham & Voliner in Overland Park encountered Steven T. Boswell, 30, of Olathe, in Terminal C.

Boswell was wearing a red shirt with a swastika logo and a necklace with a swastika on it when he crossed paths with Fine, who was wearing a black business suit and yarmulke, the police report said.

Boswell was at the airport dropping off one of the people who spoke at a National Socialist Movement convention in Kansas City during the weekend, while Fine was catching a flight to New York.

"I told him he should be ashamed of himself for wearing those symbols in public," Fine told The Kansas City Star on Monday.

The police report said Boswell responded by calling Fine "unhuman," and that Fine then threw a cup of coffee at Boswell and punched him in the face.

Fine was arrested, but released in time to catch his plane.

Fine said that confrontation happened about 10 minutes after he first encountered Boswell.

"He walked up to me and got in my face," Fine said. "I was scared for my physical safety."

After the initial blow from Fine, Boswell began punching the rabbi repeatedly in the head, the report said. An off-duty police officer separated the two before airport police arrived.

A spokesman for the neo-Nazi organization confirmed that Boswell was involved in the scuffle as members of the group were leaving the city after the convention.

The speaker whom Boswell had taken to the airport was Jacques Pluss, a former adjunct history professor at Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He was dismissed from the university last month for missing too many days of class, but Pluss said he was let go because school officials thought he was too politically incorrect.

Fine and Boswell are scheduled to appear June 22 in Kansas City Municipal Court on the disorderly conduct charge.

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