Nazi flag outside Struthers home provokes outrage of neighbors

By Sarah Lehr


Neighbors are dismayed to see a Nazi flag flying outside a Narcissa Street home.

A red, white and black flag with a swastika hangs from the house’s porch. Some neighbors also believe they saw a figure of a black man in a noose hanging from the rafters, though at closer range, that object appears to be a tangle of cobwebs and toy rats.

Richard Dilullo said he bought the flag from a flea market as a Halloween decoration.

“Halloween — it’s a time of evil, so I figured I’d put it up there,” Dilullo said.

He said he doesn’t support Nazism or white supremacy, but that he’s not particularly bothered if others see his decor and assume he does.

“I’m sure they’ll be offended,” he said. “Everybody’s offended by everything nowadays.”

Rodney Smith often visits Narcissa Street to check on his elderly mother, Georgianna. The Nazi flag across the street makes him worry for her safety.

“In this day and age, that ain’t right,” he said. “This is a mixed neighborhood.”

Georgianna Smith, 70, avoids Dilullo’s house when walking her dog. Ever since her neighbor put up the flag Tuesday evening, she said, passing cars have been slowing down to look at it. She described the flag as an embarrassment to the neighborhood. It is especially inappropriate, she said, because the house is across from a baseball field and because school buses drive through the area.

“That’s not just a Halloween thing or whatever — it is very offensive,” she said. “It’s offensive to all of us. Why would he do it? Nobody bothers him. He knows it’s a symbol of hate. ... He’s not a child. Even a young person know that’s not right. It’s a matter of respect of yourself, not to mention your neighbors.”

Georgianna and her next-door neighbor, Gene Devoe, were on the phone with each other Wednesday to discuss their outrage.

“We’ve got all types of races living here and we all kind of stick together as a street,” Devoe said. “This is our street. This isn’t one person’s street. ... Putting that up is a ridiculously stupid thing to do. It needs to come down, and if he doesn’t take it down, I’ll take it down for him. They can send me to jail. I don’t care.”

He added, “I ride a motorcycle. Some of the other motorcycle club guys are into Nazi stuff. I don’t get involved with that crap. ... You know, I’m German. I had relatives in the Holocaust.”

Asked how someone might react to the flag if that person had lost a relative in the Holocaust, Dilullo said: “It’s a flag. If they’re offended, don’t look at it. I mean, I have a grandpa who died of a heart attack, and I don’t get offended when I drive by McDonald’s.”

Dilullo said none of his neighbors approached him directly to complain about the flag.

Several people, however, called police about the Nazi symbol.

“Basically, you have a guy exercising his First Amendment rights,” Struthers Police Capt. Daniel Aldish said Wednesday. “We haven’t been able to talk to the individual yet and let him know that he might want to take down things that some might find offensive.”

Mark Noel, another Narcissa Street resident, said he believed the flag was a free- speech issue, but that he personally hoped his neighbor would take it down.

“I don’t want to see that here,” Noel said. “I don’t want to see that anywhere.”