The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Indiana State University Police Say Beating of White Supremacist Protester May Have Been Staged

By Keegan Hankes on October 10, 2013 - 3:05 pm, Posted in White Supremacist
Matthew Heimbach, left, with Thomas Buhls, center, after assault.Matthew Heimbach, left, with Thomas Buhls, center, after assault.

Indiana State University police are investigating what the department director says is the possibility that an assault on a member of the white supremacist Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN) by a lone anti-racist demonstrator was planned by TYN supporters.

Within hours of the confrontation yesterday, white supremacist websites and forums began heavily promoting an “extremely violent” attack, blaming supporters of anti-racist activist Tim Wise.

“We’re not convinced it was a legitimate assault,” ISU Police Chief Bill Mercier told Hatewatch, adding that it may have been staged by the so-called victims.

About 15 TYN members, including Matthew Heimbach and Thomas Buhls, were on campus to protest a speech by Wise, part of ISU’s Office of Diversity’s “Eye on Diversity” series.

It was around 5:30 p.m. outside of a university parking garage when Mason Welch, 21, of Chicago allegedly approached Buhls, a TYN organizer and founder of the now-defunct White Student Union at Indiana University. Welch asked for a light for his cigarette. While Buhls was rifling through his pockets, according to a statement given to police, Welch started punching him in the face.

One reason for the police skepticism was that TYN members found Welch waiting for them even though they arrived 45 minutes earlier than they had told police they would.

Despite reports by TYN supporters that multiple counter-protesters attacked Buhls with Mace, a knife, and a sock containing a lock, an ISU police report indicates that Welch was the lone attacker. In the report, Buhls states that he was only punched, and police indicate that Welch was the only one sprayed with Mace during the conflict – by TYN members, while being restrained. Officers said they did find a knife and a “lock tied to a piece of cloth” when they searched Welch.

Brad Griffin, the editor of the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent and the primary organizer of upcoming League of the South (LOS) events in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville, Tenn., jumped at the opportunity to use the ISU conflict, staged or not, to issue a warning to counter-protesters this weekend that League members and supporters will not hesitate to exercise their right under Tennessee’s “Make My Day” law to stand their ground, using deadly force if necessary.

This is a troubling development for a group whose Facebook event page prominently features a discussion of open carry law reciprocity between states.

Heimbach and his followers were recently banned from the League and its events after a photo became public of him performing a Nazi salute with members of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA) and the Aryan Terror Brigade (ATB) standing under swastika banners. He is also scheduled to speak to the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) in the coming months. These developments prompted League president Michael Hill to boot Heimbach, who Hill previously awarded a plaque for “aggressive” promotion of Southern independence, from the organization.

Welch, who is still being held in county jail for battery resulting in bodily injury, is now being used to drum up sympathy for extremist groups like TYN, as well as others, including the League.

Wise, who took the stage as scheduled an hour and a half after the attack, just hopes League members don’t confuse someone like Welch with the non-violent counter-protesters from the Tennessee Anti-Racist Network who plan to demonstrate at the League events this weekend.

“I am going to contact the network,” said Wise, “and tell them these guys are going to be armed and on a hair-trigger.”

  • Edward

    Everything Matthew Heimbach touches ends in defeat. See him screaming into a bullhorn alongside the Keystone State Skins: http://www.myfoxphilly.com/sto.....mount-park

  • Kiwiwriter

    “News flash: Nice people have no desire to control the lives of others. The power of government attracts sociopaths. The power of law enforcement attracts bullies and sadists. The power of covert agencies attracts deceitful people. That doesn’t mean ALL people who persue those careers are all alike. Just that we should not be surprised when those kinds of people seek those jobs. Nor should dismiss someone who makes these kinds of observations at “crazy” or a “conspiracy theorist” because they dare to say or write such things.”

    Larry, it might surprise you…but people in law enforcement, government, and in “covert agencies” usually join them out of motivations of patriotism and commitment to service.

    That’s why we put up with lower salaries and fewer benefits than the private sector, and, in the case of the military and law enforcement, greater risks to our persons.

    Those of us who are not put in harm’s way suffer the repeated indignities and humiliations of being furloughed by our leaders at the top, and abuse and vitriol from the people we serve, for our failures to wave our government-issued magic wands and solve all their problems…we are expected to somehow grant all the permit requests, eradicate all crime from the streets, “fix” parking and speeding tickets, employ useless brothers-in-law, remove snow immediately, while not seeking or collecting even a penny in taxes to pay for all of this largesse.

    Oh, and we are also supposed to ignore our citizens’ failure to observe fire, safety, and environmental regulations, while performing all these miracles. Apparently it’s only “the other guy” who ever breaks the law.

  • Larry

    aadila said:

    “ready in your paranoia to declare war on the government”

    There you go again, Captain Strawman. I never said anything of the sort, yet you continue with this nonsense. You are clearly not worthy of any more of my time.

    Erika said:

    “now its good that you are concerned about the police abuses and police going after others – but for you to be worried about it is silly. Now, if you are black and Hispanic and live in the inner city, you have to worry about the police going after you just because they can – but they don’t do that to white people who don’t live in inner city locations so chances are you don’t have to worry about it.. The fact is unles you draw attention to yourself the police won’t care about you.”

    Believe it or not, I actually DO care about other people being abused. I know that because I believe in RKBA, that most folks here think I MUST be some kind of hate-filled monster who wants to shoot people. It’s simply not the case.

    I own a firearm for the same reason I own a fire extinguisher, have auto and homeowner’s insurance, a kerosene heater, and a first aid kit. I hope never to need any of them. If you ever DO need any of them, and don’t have them, you’re screwed.

  • Erika

    Larry, assuming that you are white and live in a middle class area not running around driving a car with homemade cardboard Republican of Teabaggistan licenseplates or have a big neon sign in your yard reading “Cocaine For Sale” the odds that the police would ever go after you is basically zero..

    And unless you happen to be an independent pharmaceutical distributor or in the Mafia or something the odds of some one besides the police going after you are also basically zero.

    now its good that you are concerned about the police abuses and police going after others – but for you to be worried about it is silly. Now, if you are black and Hispanic and live in the inner city, you have to worry about the police going after you just because they can – but they don’t do that to white people who don’t live in inner city locations so chances are you don’t have to worry about it.. The fact is unles you draw attention to yourself the police won’t care about you.

    i’m also pretty sure that with the name Larry you aren’t a woman so you don’t have to worry about sexual harassment or sexual assault by cops – not to mention the danger of imposter cops who pull over young women at night to rape and/or murder them (in fact, the Virginia State Police has actually instructed women to drive to a lit populated place before pulling over for the police because of the danger of imposter cops – of course, they probably also know about instances where real police officers have used their badges to rape women or extort sexual favors from them by threatening to arrest them for often spurious charges). . In fact, while the abuses of the drug war in inner cities have justly gotten lots of attention there is probably insufficient attention paid to police officers abusing their badges to commit sexual assaults of women – or even to pull over an attractive woman on a pretext stop to and ask her for a date – and of course, if she is not interested give her a ticket (believe me, this actually happens) .

    so you don’t have to tell me to not trust cops – i didn’t like them even before i went to work in a public defender’s office :)

  • Aron

    Hey Larry, here’s an idea: DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN SITUTATIONS WHERE YOU WOULD HAVE TO DEFEND YOURSELF AGAINST ANYONE, LET ALONE THE POLICE. Jeez, but you come off as thick.

  • aadila

    Larry, there are as many firearm deaths each year in the U.S. as during the Bosnian war (homocide, suicide, and accidents). Gun deaths in America are not only routine but at levels comparable to one of the most violent episodes of warfare in recent history.

    So I would say people hiding behind the 2nd Amendment to justify completely out of control gun violence in America are “routinely getting away with it”. And please don’t start with the argument that’s why we need guns to defend ourselves from criminals, because one of the main methods used by criminals to obtain firearms is to take them from homes and cars. There are cases where guns are used in self defense, but there are many more cases where guns are used or handled inappropriately.

    It just strikes me as terribly ironic that you seem to have no problem with the hecatombs of dead in America due to the free-wheeling trade in guns, but are ready in your paranoia to declare war on the government when the People, out of disgust with the lack of gun regulation, demand reasonable restrictions on the right to own a gun such as a universal background check to buy a long gun, or to close the gun show loophole.

  • Larry

    “The potential for abuse in the government and holders of power is very real. Just as the potential for armed citizens to be going around shooting innocent schoolkids is very real.

    Why is it your concern for potential harm to the American people only extends to the first group, and not the second?”
    ***********************************************

    Because the first group routinely gets away with it. Because if I shoot someone from the second group in self-defense, I won’t be called a “cop killer.” If I defend myself from someone in the first group, my chance of getting a fair trail is pretty much nil.

  • Erika

    Rey, it honestly amazes me that they are still able to catch and arrest people on those charges – i would think that once you have nationally televised programs showing people getting arrested in those stings that no matter how horny and stupid a guy was he would realize it was a sting.

    but i don’t think the guys who get picked up in those sting operations are exactly doing the thinking with their brains

    fortunately, i never had to represent any of those guys, because i’m not sure i would have been able to avoid the temptation of saying “Your Honor my client pleads not guilty on the grounds of extreme stupidity”

  • aadila

    Larry,

    The potential for abuse in the government and holders of power is very real. Just as the potential for armed citizens to be going around shooting innocent schoolkids is very real.

    Why is it your concern for potential harm to the American people only extends to the first group, and not the second?

  • Reynardine

    Erika, anyone with a brain should hike as soon as the young lady offers sweet tea, because the next thing on the menu is Mr. Hansen.

  • Erika

    as Larry eludes to but is too busy looking in the shadows for conspiracies to notice, most instances of entrapment have occurred due to overenthusiastic individual agents or groups of agents. There are also instances (particularly in going after so called “predators”* on the internet of private citizens/ groups) crossing the line into entrapment. Of course, generally legally if the private citizen is not deemed a government agent (i.e. someone acting at the direction of the government), it is not legally entrapment

    * predators is in quotes here because i believe that many of the men picked up in those stings are in fact socially awkward losers who were so desperate for any attention from an attractive female so that when one shows interest in them they simply do not care she is a 14 year old. Not that it really makes those defendants any less disgusting but it does raise legitimate issues of entrapment.

  • Larry

    I am opposed to any action by agents of government that would be criminal acts if done by ordinary citizens. If you just read that and concluded that this is a radical postion, you concluded correctly. There are LOTS of things our government, especially law enforcement, does that I think are morally wrong and should not be permitted.

    The need for law enforcement agencies to justify their existence, their policies, and especially their budgets, is the root of all sorts of abuses.

    SWAT teams are frequently employed to do “no knock” raids of non-violent “criminals,” simply to ensure that the perp can’t flush their weed. (The logic of using such lethal force to stop people from ingesting a plant that has never killed a single human being in over 10,000 years of human consumption eludes me). They over-use these SWAT teams and all their military toys to justify their “need” for them. They can report that they did x number of raids, leading to y number of arrests and convictions, etc. This is the sort of things bureaucrats look for when approving budgets.

    I read an article today in the Washington Post about how a Snowden leak revealed that NSA has been sharing its data with CIA, which led to the drone killing of an AlQaeda (sp?) operative. The unwritten message of the story was, of course, “Look we got a bad guy, so this justifies our need to spy on YOU.”

    Erika said: “In fact, while there is to my knowledge no case where there has ever been a proven inside job by the government, there have been many proven instances of such by private actors.”

    What about outright LIES to justify warmongering? The Gulf of Tonkin incident never even happened. There were no WMDs in Iraq.

    I know you folks here just LOVE your government. If only you could get rid of the meanies in there and get nice people in charge, everything would be wonderful.

    News flash: Nice people have no desire to control the lives of others. The power of government attracts sociopaths. The power of law enforcement attracts bullies and sadists. The power of covert agencies attracts deceitful people. That doesn’t mean ALL people who persue those careers are all alike. Just that we should not be surprised when those kinds of people seek those jobs. Nor should dismiss someone who makes these kinds of observations at “crazy” or a “conspiracy theorist” because they dare to say or write such things.

  • Aron

    Beg pardon, I had Larry mixed up with someone else. He wants the government to back off of the investigations of his militia friends, because without the militias, there would really be no Cloak Peeper organization. Regardless of what he claims.

    Are we still wasting your time?

  • Aron

    Aadila, because he is a troll. Simply look at his other posts on the site. He has no interest in actual discourse.

  • aadila

    Larry, I am not particularly familiar with either case, so for puposes of argument I will take you at your word. You have presented two examples, one hypothetical, and one actual case, where a law enforcement agency (the FBI) has engaged in what amounts to entrapment.

    I am a bit perplexed about two things regarding your commentary:

    1) In the hypothetical case, how is the conduct of the FBI measurably different than standard operating procedure for all law enforcement agencies currently active in the United States? In other words why do you seize upon the FBI in particular when this sort of thing goes on all the time in arms, drugs, prostitution, child exploitation, etc., types of investigative police work? I am not arguing for or against this kind of police work, by the way. I am just trying to understand why you are concerned specifically about the FBI in your comment.

    2) Since entrapment has been used as criminal defense for over 100 years in case law, why does the use of such defense (successfully) in the so-called “Hutaree Militia episode” (which I am not familiar with, but again I’ll take you at your word) represent a departure from the legal protections which have been upheld for over a century in the United States?

    In other words since the defense was successful, which adds to jurisprudence and strengthens other similar defense arguments, why are you concerned, and more importantly, why does one example of entrapment suggest, as you seem to be saying, that the FBI should backpedal on all militia/right wing extremist types of investigation?

  • Erika

    Larry, honey, please learn the difference between a “sting operation,” “entrapment,” and an “inside job.”

    What you are talking about are sting operations where a government informant or agent poses as say an arms dealer for people looking to purchase bombs. Those people are alrady seeking bombs and it is perfectly legal and a cornerstone of law enforcement. Usually those things happen when some one approaches a friend or even a total stranger looking for someone to kill someone and the friend goes to the cops who set up a fake hitman to meet with the person looking to hire a killer. The people in those cases have developed criminal intent long before the sting operation is launched.

    What you are alleging is that the FBI uses entrapment – that is when a government agent gets a person to engage in a crime that they would not otherwise engage in. It is often alleged by defendants but hard to prove. The current area where you see the most common entrapment claims are the “To Catch a Predator” sting operations where a government agent poses as a 14 year old girl on the internet looking to meet men. Of course, generally those entrapment schemes fail when the guy shows up at the hotel looking to meet the 14 year old with gifts, alcohol, and condoms – and even if the agent did initiate conversation, its hard to have any sympathy whatsoever for a grown man who doesn’t turn tell or run when the object of his desire says that he is 14.

    True entrapment almost never happens – that is when the government gets a person who had no intention to violate the law and gets them to do it. But there is often a very fine line between a “sting operation” and “entrapment” and the government has been known to cross it. And the fact that the line is fine is why defendants almost always argue entrapment – when you show up on video trying to buy a suitcase full of cocaine or a load of rocket launchers you really don’t have much other potential defenses.

    Of course, even if entrapment takes place it is not an “inside job” – even if the person can prove that they developed criminal intent due to urging by the government agent, they still develop it.

    An inside job is when the government stages an attack and often blames it on an enemy – there are some recorded examples – most people agree that the burning of the Reichstag in 1933 qualifies. German soldiers dressing in Polish uniforms and pretending to attack a German base as a pretext to invade Poland in 1939 was another. i’m not aware of any proven instance by the government in American history – some of the events during the early union movement no doubt qualify but in those cases, it was private parties like mine owners who created the crimes to provide the excuse to send in private armies – even most of the Cointelpro stuff would have really been entrapment.

    In fact, while there is to my knowledge no case where there has ever been a proven inside job by the government, there have been many proven instances of such by private actors.

  • Larry

    Strawman much?

    Here is just one example. http://www.salon.com/2010/11/28/fbi_8/

    It has become SOP for FBI to justify their existence and justify the erosion of our privacy by creating their own “successes.” They find young, angry, and most importantly DUMB people, and try to convince them to commit acts of terrorism. Since these Forest Gump dumb youths could never build their own devices, the FBI provocateur offers to get one for them. Often they will even provide a fake so they can “catch them redhanded.”

    Or take the “Hutaree Militia” episode. The judge wisely dismissed the entire case when he/she learned that the entire “plot” originated from an FBI provocateur, and there was no evidence to support that the group had any intention of doing what the provocateur had suggested.

    Nice try putting words into my mouth though with those other events.

  • Aron

    Hey Larry, care to back up your accusations of FBI deceit? Outside of the Cointelpro years of the 1960s?

    I mean obviously 9/11, Aurora, and Sandy Hook were I side jobs, right? But there must be more.

  • Larry

    Looks like they took a tactic from the FBI’s playbook: If you can’t find a real threat, invent one. “False flags” work for warmongering governments, why not for political extremists?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Reading that report tells me that TYN isn’t long for this world and Heimbach’s WN career is already over(actually good for his sake). He’d be stupid to try to continue because hardcore WNs, especially skins, will not follow him or his buddies after such an embarrassing defeat. The other possibility is that someone gets in his organization and usurps power, sensing Heimbach’s obvious weakness.

    Matt if you’re reading this; It’s over, but this is a good thing. Get out and get some real life experience, in short- get a real life. Don’t waste some of your best years of your life on this nonsense.

  • aadila

    Rey, given a perfectly reasonable vegan tiramissu recipe didn’t pass Hayes either, I wouldn’t take it too personally.

  • Fred Fredrick

    This is how the police at Tinley Park should have handled it. Why waste taxpayer money protecting these Nazis and putting anti-racists in jail?

  • Mike

    Not a fan of Heimbach, but if we are to take the anti-racist activists at their word, it does not seem to be staged.

    http://southsideantifa.blogspo.....d.html?m=1

  • Reynardine

    I see I have truly offended the Hays Office. I will only say that Ruslan’s characterization is supported by historic precedent.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    You’re dead on, Patrick. When I saw Heimbach and then started reading about how he went full on WN and started associating with NSM I thought it’s only a matter of time before he gets his ass beat by some of his “Aryan brothers.” When you get into the WN movement, you’re inevitably going to encounter skinheads. You meet them, you’re going to encounter ones who have served time. A bookish, “traditional” intellectual type simply doesn’t garner respect from those types. And when you criticize them you’d better understand that these people don’t exactly go by the Oxford rules of debate.

  • http://www.admit2nothing.tumblr.com Budd Dwyer

    Looks like these kids are just trying anything to get attention.

  • Patrick

    ” Heimbach must use brainwashing techniques to get his followers to go to jail for him.”

    I don’t think that kid has followers. He looks like a 12 year old that plays video games and lives with mama. In fact, the 3 ppl in that pic look like they have never done one day of manual labor. They probably wouldn’t even know how to start a push lawnmower. Let them pick up trash off the side of the road or something.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Neo-Nazis definitely have a fetish for golden showers. For years if you read Nazi descriptions of rallies where anti-racists, particularly anarchists, ARA, or OPP, they would claim that balloons of piss were thrown at them. The thing is I have long frequented the forums and internet haunts of such groups and I’ve never seen anyone refer to doing this. In all my years of monitoring this scene I’ve never seen any anti-racist mention piss balloons or anything of the sort. It’s just a fantasy in the minds of Nazis.

    It must have been humiliating for Buhls, a former Marine, to be so humbled by portraying himself as a victim. But when you get involved with the White Nationalist movement, dignity goes right out the window.

  • Nick Dotter

    This Heimbach guy has followers that are very cult like. I think it was staged too. Heimbach must use brainwashing techniques to get his followers to go to jail for him.

  • Klark

    The guy on the far right is Brian Bryant: https://twitter.com/itsOK2beWHITE

  • concernedcitizen

    Really that’s nothing new. I have watched bigots stage a lot of stupid activities.

    So I hope if they take apart what could be another farce that they charge those involved.

    It is truly amazing what stupid does with too much free time.

  • Blake

    The Traditionalist Youth Network should also start thinking about changing their name to the Traditionalist “Middle Aged Balding Men and their Grandfathers” Network. Obviously, no youth want anything to do with this group except Heimbach and Patrick Sharp, and Patrick Sharp has “supposedly” left the building.

  • Blake

    You mean no one threw urine on them this time? It is puzzling why no one ever rebuts the accusations made by the TYN every time they show up to someone else’s event and “violence” breaks out against them. The TYN just wants to play the victim role and they do it so well. If Welch was the only one sprayed with Mace why do they have a photo up of Heimbach wiping his eyes like he was sprayed with mace? Just another victim.

  • Erika

    if there is ever a picture that “screams” white supremacy it is there.

    And those League of the South people sound like they are going to be armed, stupid, extremely dangerous, and looking for a fight since they believe that they will be able to get away with it (and might because, well, its Tennessee) – people who oppose them or the mere curious – especially black people – should do the smart thing and stay far away.

  • aadila

    That photo’s from this incident?

    I could have sworn it was a publicity photo from The Neo Nazis and the Vampires, a new straight to video release.

  • Reynardine

    Kinda like Col. Mustard knowing what’s in the black envelope before the Clue game starts, only he says Mr. Green dunnit.