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

Council Of Conservative Citizens Suspended From PayPal

By Keegan Hankes on June 27, 2015 - 9:17 am, Posted in White Nationalism, White Supremacist

In the wake of revelations that Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston, South Carolina, shooter, was “awakened” to the epidemic of “black-on-white crime” by the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), PayPal – one of the world’s largest online money transfer services – has suspended the white nationalist hate group’s account after being contacted by Hatewatch.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.01.49 PM“The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens,” Roof wrote. “There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief.”

The CCC’s website’s singular purpose is to propagate this false narrative of a victimized white majority under siege by allegedly violent people of color in the United States. Stories regularly feature gruesome images of victims accompanied by sensationalist rhetoric about the attacks designed to generate outrage.

In the wake of the death of unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin, the CCC’s website, disguised as a mainstream news source with domains like “Top Conservative news” and “Conservative-Headlines,” exploded with web traffic. Kyle Rogers, the site’s webmaster has publically boasted about changing the narrative around the story, as well as the fact that his coverage brought 170,000 unique visitors to the site in a single day.

Rogers also uses PayPal to process transactions for his personal business, Patriotic Flags, an apparel store that supplies flags and T-shirts to several hate groups. Among the items sold by Rogers is the Rhodesian flag – a symbol that adorned Roof’s jacket in pictures taken before the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 3.03.38 PM

The cost of maintaining a site with so much traffic is significant. Unfortunately for Rogers and the CCC, that cost just became that much more significant now that the CCC cannot benefit from PayPal’s services.

Despite just now moving to suspend the CCC’s account, PayPal has been well aware of its part in helping the group raise money. On multiple occasions over the past year, Hatewatch has contacted the organization about more than 60 known hate groups using PayPal’s services to solicit donations and sell merchandise used to fund hate.

Each inquiry about the PayPal’s acceptance of brazen violations against its own acceptable use policy has been met with the same response:

“PayPal does not permit our service to be used to accept donations if the content on that web site violates our Offensive Materials Policy, which is contained in our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The Offensive Material Policy prohibits individuals and groups from making a call to action for violence of any sort against any group, promoting or glorifying hate, violence or racial intolerance or graphically portraying violence or the victims of violence.”

Along with this stock response was an email address for reporting AUP violations. On each occasion that Hatewatch submitted a list, at least three separate times, the CCC was among the hate groups identified as using PayPal’s services.

Bafflingly, the CCC’s website, dedicated almost solely to promoting a false narrative of white victimhood and the violent nature of embattled minority groups, was apparently deemed by PayPal as insufficiently guilty of “promoting or glorifying hate, violence or racial intolerance or graphically portraying violence or the victims of violence,” until today.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 11.08.39 AM

In the wake of the tragic events in Charleston, allegedly perpetrated by a young man who credits the CCC with the beginning of his radicalization, it is encouraging that PayPal has finally moved to honor its own stated values. However, the company has plenty of work to do with at least 60 more hate groups benefitting from its services.

It is unfortunate that it took such a tragedy to get PayPal’s full attention.

String of Nighttime Fires Hit Predominately Black Churches in Four Southern States

By Bill Morlin on June 26, 2015 - 3:13 pm, Posted in Anti-Black

In what may not be a coincidence, a string of nighttime fires have damaged or destroyed at least six predominately black churches in four southern states in the past week.

Arsonists started at least three of the fires, while other causes are being examined in the other fires, investigators say.

The series of fires – some of them suspicious and possible hate crimes — came in the week following a murderous rampage by a white supremacist who shot and killed nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

The fires also occurred at a time when there is increasing public pressure to remove the Confederate flag – one of the last hallmarks of white superiority — from government buildings and public places as well as banning assorted Confederate flag merchandise sold in retails stores and online.

Even if the fires are deemed arson, it takes additional proof under reporting standards to conclude the act was a hate crime, investigators say.

“As the nation grapples with the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., one of the oldest Black churches in the South, other Black churches have become recent targets of arson,” writer David A. Love said today at Atlanta BlackStar.

“From slavery and the days of Jim Crow through the civil rights movement and beyond, white supremacists have targeted the Black church because of its importance as a pillar of the Black community, the center for leadership and institution building, education, social and political development and organizing to fight oppression,” Love wrote.

“Strike at the Black church, and you strike at the heart of Black American life,” the writer added.

The most recent fires occurred early today at the Glover Grover Baptist Church, in Warrenville, S.C., and at the Greater Miracle Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, Fla.

Federal agents have been brought in to assist local officials in determining the unknown cause of the fire at the Glover Grove Baptist church. In Tallahassee, fire officials say the fire that totally destroyed the Apostolic Holiness Church may have been caused by a tree limb falling on overhead electrical lines.

Glover Grove Baptist Church

Glover Grove Baptist Church damaged by fire

While those investigations continue, arson was determined to be the cause of three fires earlier in the week at other predominately black churches in the South.

The first arson fire occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, June 22, at the College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church, home to a predominately black congregation, in Knoxville, Tenn.

“Horror, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on?’” church Pastor Cleveland Hobdy III, told Knoxville television station WATE.

“When I look at this I see, I think of an intention to try to destroy this entire church,” Hobdy said. “It makes it sad. It’s sad either way that someone would put their mind to try to damage a church that’s trying to help people.”

Knoxville Fire Department spokesperson D.J. Corcoran said the arsonist set fires at multiple locations on the church property, including igniting bales of hay left at the church’s door. The church’s van also was burned.

The following day, Tuesday June 23, an arsonist was blamed for a fire in the sanctuary s at God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Ga.

“Right now we are investigating as if it was a set fire,” said Sgt. Ben Gleaton, an arson investigator for the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, told the Macon Telegraph.

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations are following leads in that suspect arson.

The church on Cedar Avenue in Macon has been the repeated target of burglars who have stolen sound and air conditioning equipment, the Macon newspaper reported.

The third suspected arson fire occurred in the predawn hours of Wednesday, June 24, at the Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.

That fire, reported at 1 a.m. EDT, caused an estimated $250,000 in damage, destroying an education wing in one of four buildings that make up the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church complex in east Charlotte, authorities said. The church’s sanctuary and gymnasium sustained heavy smoke damage.

Fire at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church

Fire at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church

“Our investigators did not find any direct evidence that would lead them to believe at this time that this is a hate crime,” Charlotte Fire Department spokeswoman Cynthia Robbins Shah-Khan told Hatewatch today. “Of course, that is a possibility.”

The church has about 100 members, most of them African Americans, but it also shares space with two churches for immigrants from Nepal, according to media reports.

Also on Wednesday, fire destroyed the Fruitland Presbyterian Church, in Gibson County, Tenn., a landmark structure built in the 1800s.

While the cause of that fire remains under investigation, preliminary reports suggest it may have been caused by a lightning strike, television station WBBJ reported.

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office and ATF agents continue an investigation to determine the fire’s cause.

“We want to be sure, 100 percent sure, that this was an accidental fire, not on purpose,” Gibson County Fire Chief Bryan Cathey told the television station.

Anti-LGBT Extremists React with Outrage to Marriage Ruling

By Don Terry on June 26, 2015 - 12:38 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Reaction from anti-LGBT extremists to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling today that the Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage was fast and furious, defiant and hysterical.

They called the 5-to-4 decision an “illegitimate” ruling by a “Rogue Court” and, according to Westboro Baptist church, a “stamp of approval on an outrageously grotesque sin against God. #doomed.”

In a series of tweets minutes after the decision was announced this morning, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (AFA) compared the ruling to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and said that he spotted Satan celebrating.

“I saw Satan dancing with delight, the day the music died in the United States of American,” Fischer tweeted.

“From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is now our 9/11,” Fischer whined in another tweet, adding that governors should defy the ruling and “refuse to issue sodomy-based licenses in their states.”

In the AFA’s official statement, President Tim Wildmon said the Supreme Court had chosen “to be a tool of tyranny” and that its ruling would “imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists.”

In a long written statement under the headline, “SCOTUS Finds for Fiction and Iniquity 5-4,” Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute said the ruling was produced from the “imaginations” and “the gaseous emanations” of “five of our supremacist justices” who “discerned a heretofore nonexistent constitutional requirement that homoerotic unions be recognized as ‘marriages.’”

Higgins predicted the decision would give “birth to relentless cultural turmoil, division, and suffering,” adding “these five judges have watered the seeds of strife planted by sexual anarchists.”

She concluded, “This pernicious SCOTUS decision also provides evidence that the moral arc of America – at least with regard to marriage – bends not toward justice, wisdom, or morality but, rather, toward perversity and injustice. Liberals are once again on the shameful side of history and will once again foment cultural conflict and human suffering.”

In one of a series of tweets, Tony Perkins, who heads the Washington D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC), called the ruling, a “shocking abuse of power” that “will never be accepted.”

In a longer statement on FRC’s website, Perkins said, “No court can overturn natural law.”

“It is folly for the Court to think that it has resolved a controversial issue public policy,” Perkins said in the statement. “By disenfranchising 50 million Americans, the Court has instead supercharged this issue.”

In a statement, Scott Lively, a veteran of the anti-LGBT movement, called the ruling “illegitimate.”

“In response to the ruling, Mr. Obama called it an example of ‘justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,’” Lively said. “That phrase turns logic and morality on its head as it relates to official government endorsement of sexual perversion.”

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, also called the ruling “illegitimate,” adding it “robs children of the right and joy of having both moms and dads.”

“The Court,” Staver said, “can no more redefine marriage than it can redefine gravity.”

The Killing Season: are racists using the internet to Indoctrinate killers or are they instructing them?

By Heidi Beirich on June 25, 2015 - 3:47 pm, Posted in Racism, White Nationalism, White Supremacist

For the third time in less than three years, a “lone-wolf” racist killer has attacked a religious institution in the United States.

All the attacks have been mass shootings, involving one individual with a single firearm. And they have been particularly lethal, leaving 18 dead and only 4 wounded. All of the shootings occurred at a time when a large number of congregants were present at the targeted institution.

These killings have also occurred within about a three and a half month period, between mid-April and early August. This inexplicable compression of attack timing, what investigators call an “offense cluster,” is historically consistent with other mass killings by racist extremists, including the July 22nd, 2011 murders in Norway by Anders Breivik, the May 2nd, 2012 mass shooting in Phoenix by neo-Nazi, JT Ready, and the April 19th, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh.

Before we dismiss the timing and targeting as mere coincidence, we should at least ask the question: Are racists using the Internet to indoctrinate their fragile- minded followers into killers or are they instructing them?

The three religious institution attackers are linked to only four racist websites. Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people at a Sikh Temple on August 5th, 2012 and had accounts on Stormfront and Crew38. Frazier Glenn Miller shot and killed three people outside a Jewish Community Center on April 13th, 2014 and had accounts at VNN Forum and Stormfront. And Dylann Storm Roof, who murdered nine parishioners at an African American church last week, acknowledges the Council of Conservative Citizens website as his primary ideological influence.

Earl P. Holt III, CCC president

Earl P. Holt III, CCC president

At least in Mr. Roof’s case, the website he frequented may have been more than just a source of indoctrination.

Less than three days before Roof committed mass murder at the AME church in Charleston, the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens suggested taking a .45 caliber pistol into the black community to “help mitigate violent black crime at its source.”

On Monday June 15th, CCC president, Earl P. Holt III, posted his comments in an article on the CCC Website. He wrote:

“Old guys like me should dress in a disheveled manner, pretend to be intoxicated, hang-out in “the hood,” and bring along a large-caliber handgun (with backup!) and help mitigate violent black crime at its source…”

Minutes later, Holt added:

“I prefer my Sig .45 with HP loads…”

Almost as if in response to this suggestion, Roof wrote in his manifesto,

“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet.”

Five days before the shootings, Holt posted a comment on the CCC website on the topic of “wreaking revenge on innocent nigros [sic]”:

“As much as I hate “those people”?—?especially the violent black criminals who seek out white victims?—?I am somewhat repulsed at the thought of wreaking revenge on innocent nigros,[sic] not involved in crimes against whites.

But then Holt went on to say:

“Nigros, on the other hand?—?with their under-evolved Frontal Lobes?—?think nothing of taking revenge against ANY WHITE for whatever alleged grievances they harbor, real or imagined…”

Since the killings, the CCC has denounced Roof’s actions but stands by their statements, maintaining they mean what they say on their website.

Perhaps we should take them at their word.

Three weeks before the shootings, Earl Holt advocated lynching black people on the CCC site. He wrote:

“A tall tree, a short rope, and a good knot are not an expensive endeavor…”

Six weeks before the shootings, responding to an April 28th American Renaissance article about crime in the city of Charleston, South Carolina, Holt advocated the type of domestic terrorism used by the Ku Klux Klan when he wrote about the coming “race war”:

“It occurs to me that if if [sic] TSHTF?—?and we attack the enemy head-on and in force?—?we will very soon become the targets of law enforcement. However, the exploits of Nathan Bedford Forrest should be an inspiration to every Patriot wishing to do his duty, and should serve as an example of how to successfully manage the coming race war…”

In the same April article, Holt advised “White Crackers” to purchase a handgun. He wrote:

“LISTEN UP YOU WHITE CRACKERS:

1-H3dv4TveWFR0D40MgVCRGA“If you do not have one, get your selves to a gun shop and get a good handgun for self-protection, and a shotgun for protecting your home. If you do not know how to use and handle one, then learn.”

Some time that same month, Dylann Storm Roof went to a gun shop and purchased the .45 caliber Glock pistol he would use to murder nine innocent parishioners at a Bible study class in Charleston last week.

Whether these attacks are random and just coincidental, the asymmetrical “hive mentality” of the often-unstable people who frequent racist forums on the Internet seems to be encouraging the targeting of minority religious institutions for attack.

Churches, synagogues, and mosques are usually among the softest targets in town. “Soft targets offer militant planners an advantage in that they can frequently be attacked by a single operative or small team using a simple attack plan,” according to a study on the security intelligence websiteStratfor.

Racist attacks on minority religious institutions are increasing and have been since Barack Obama took office. In Springfield, Massachusetts on November 5th, 2008, within hours of Obama’s election, three racist arsonists burned an African American church to the ground. The Macedonia Church of God in Christ was set ablaze in retaliation over the election of our first black president.

And church attacks are accelerating in frequency. Three weeks ago, on June 3rd, racist vandals slashed the tires of a African American church bus near Dallas and poisoned a puppy belonging to the pastor’s family. They also spray painted the words “No Niggers” on the church van.

Four weeks ago, on May 22nd, the congregation of the Sanctuary at Wilmington, NC arrived to find several nooses dangling from the trees in front of their church.

Nine weeks ago, on April 15th, after years of racist harassment, an African American church in Oak Harbor, WA was burglarized and vandalized.

Ten weeks ago, on April 7th, a synagogue in Gaithersburgh, MD was defaced with swastikas and the letters “KKK.”

On February 17th, the New Shiloh Christian Center in Melbourne, FL, an African American church, was set ablaze and a swastika was spray painted on the wall with the words “we see u.”

On February 16th, racist vandals attacked a Hindu Temple and a local school in Bothell, Washington with racist graffiti and swastikas. In December, three African American churches in Wakula, Florida were vandalized with the letters “KKK” spray painted on their walls. And in October, John White, a 40-year-old neo-Nazi, told his mother he was going out to “shoot Jews”.White drove to Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, Illinois, smashed out several windows and wrote “Kill Israel and Death” on the entrance of the synagogue before police arrived and arrested him at the scene.

Let’s not kid ourselves. If ISIS were involved, these attacks would be viewed as coordinated, organized acts of domestic terrorism. And until federal law enforcement calls them what they are and begins to connect some dots, the racist “killing season” in America is likely to continue.

Aryan Nations Throws Its Racist Support Behind Dylann Roof

By Bill Morlin on June 25, 2015 - 9:18 am, Posted in Extremist Crime, White Supremacist

The Aryan Nations, whose messages of hate and white superiority have fueled violent crimes and domestic terrorism for decades, is applauding the murderous acts of accused racist killer Dylann Storm Roof.

Only hours after the 21-year-old was arrested for brutally shooting nine people at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., Aryan Nations leader Morris Gulett offered praise and urged others to follow Roof’s example.

“I, for one, am very glad to see young people like Dylan Roof acting like men instead of the old 60’s era hippies stoned on weed and interracial love,” Gulett posted on his web site.

“We had better see much more of this type of activism if we ever expect to see our America return to it’s [sic] rightful place in the world and our children grow up in a clean safe healthy enviroment [sic],” Gulett wrote.

Morris Gulett

Morris Gulett


Other racists individually have offered support or praise for Roof in comments posted on a forum hosted by Stormfront, the world’s largest hate site.

Gulett’s inflammatory comments came in response to a statement by Mark Pitcavage, the director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism. He was quoted in a slate.com piece as saying the idea idea of black on white crime “is one of the staples that white supremacists harp on over and over again.”

Pitcavage spoke of flags worn by Roof — the Rhodesian flag and the flag of Apartheid-era South Africa – which have become symbols for white supremacy in the United States and around the world.

“Whites actually were persecuted in Zimbabwe after the end of white rule and so white supremacists dating back all the way to the early 1970s have had a fascination with or concern over Rhodesia/Zimbabwe,” Pitcavage told Slate writer Jeremy Stahl.

Gulett responded with a headline reading: “Us Bad Ole White Supremacists and our Harps.”

“Oh really?” Gulett said of Pitcavage’s comments. “Maybe we ‘harp’ on black on white crime because it is a genuine and valid concern for our people.”

“I don’t see Mark Pitcavage saying these sort of things about Al Sharpton and the blacks in Baltimore, or Ferguson, or Trayvon Martin’s Florida or even Texas where Black Panthers are calling for a wholesale killing of Whites including our children,” Gulett said.

“We better be doing more than harping that’s for damn certain or we will end up like Rhodesia and South Africa, two places these people try to swipe under the rug in order to keep Whites from taking a genuine look at what takes place there,” Gutlett said.

Gulett has had his own brushes with the law and has done considerable prison time. His lengthy criminal record, public documents show, including aggravated assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, homicide, felonious assault, possession of drugs and receiving stolen property. His most-recent arrest on a charge of conspiracy to commit bank robbery sent him to prison for five years.

Released in 2010, Gulett set up shop in Converse, La., and declared himself “senior pastor” of the Aryan Nations which he described as “most-feared and revered white supremacist organization the world has ever known.”

Aryan Nations logo

Aryan Nations logo

It the past five years, Gulett has held annual “Aryan World Congress” gatherings of white supremacists – usually attracting a small number of followers – and he has continued to have a web presence with podcasts of his hate-filled sermons. His operation now appears to be the largest publicly visible remnant of the Aryan Nations and its so-called religious arm, the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, started by the late Richard Butler. He ran the operation out of North Idaho from the late 1970s until his death in 2004.

Many of the racists who met at the Aryan Nations, including more than two dozen members of a violent domestic terrorism group called The Order, formed in the mid-1980s, went on to commit assorted violent crimes, including the assassination of a Jewish radio personality and other murders.

Later Aryan Nations attendees, such as Buford Furrow Jr., carried out similar murderous rampages. In 1999, Furrow walked into a Jewish community center in Granada Hills, Calif., and opened fire with a semiautomatic firearm, wounding five, including three children. He then fatally shot a U.S. Postal Service worker because he was a person of color.

 

Hatewatch Headlines, 6-25-15

By Hatewatch Staff on June 25, 2015 - 9:03 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

SPLC on Medium: Are racists using the Internet to indoctrinate killers or are they instructing them?

New York Times: Homegrown terrorists tied to deadlier toll than Jihadists in the U.S. since 9/11.

Salon: Scholar of Christian Identity warns that lone-wolf killings like Dylann Roof’s rampage are part of a larger scheme.

Slate: How hate groups have used the deaths of Trayvon Martin and other black men to grow their ranks.

NPR: Narrative change makes white supremacy groups more dangerous, SPLC’s Richard Cohen says.

Right Wing Watch: The religious right’s deep connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Media Matters: NRA radio regular says it would have been OK for Charleston victims’ families to retaliate against perpetrator’s family.

Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS): Ku Klux Klan group postpones planned summer rally in Jones County because of election season.

Raw Story: Fired racist Alabama cop tries to cash in with support from neo-Confederates at the League of the South.

 

 

Colorado congressman drops out of conservative gathering that includes anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim speakers

By Hatewatch Staff on June 24, 2015 - 3:33 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim
Screen grab from Congressman Ken Buck campaign website

Congressman Ken Buck. Screen grab from Ken Buck campaign website

The anti-LGBT stance of some speakers lined up for next month’s Breaking the Silence conference in Colorado Springs may have proved too much for one Republican congressman.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck was slated to speak at the conference but withdrew yesterday after he learned that one of the other speakers is Ugandan bishop Joshua Lwere, who oversees a network of Pentecostal churches in his home country. Lwere lobbied for the infamous anti-LGBT bill in Uganda that was signed into law in early 2014. The original 2009 bill called for the execution of LGBT people in some circumstances, but the 2014 version changed that to life in prison. In August of last year, a Ugandan court annulled it on a technicality.

Buck has claimed in the past that homosexuality is a choice but that birth might have something to do with it, the same way birth might have something to do with alcoholism. However, Lwere’s views are apparently too extreme for Buck, who told the Denver Post, “I can’t share the stage with someone like that.”

( continue to full post… )

Transgender Woman Murdered, Her Body Found in Rural Mississippi

By Don Terry on June 24, 2015 - 12:29 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

As the funerals are set to begin for the nine victims of last week’s terrorist attack on an historic African-American church in Charleston, another reign of terror continues to quietly spread across the country.

For at least the ninth time this year, a transgender woman has been murdered.

The most recent to die in the slow-moving slaughter is 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, an aspiring cosmetologist with long, dark hair and a beautiful smile from Theodore, Alabama. Her partially decomposed body was found on June 2 in a field in George County, Mississippi, about 40 miles west of her home. The authorities say she was killed a day or two earlier, her body left in the field, hidden under brush and debris.

mercedes

Mercedes Williamson

“It’s shocking to me that I’m not hearing more about it from people in the community,” James Robinson, of the Huntsville, Alabama-based LGBTQ social service agency, Free2Be, told Hatewatch today. “I think it’s just getting lost and it shouldn’t. This was a 17-year-old girl in rural Alabama who was murdered.

Josh Brandon Vallum, charged with slaying Mercedes Williamson

Josh Brandon Vallum, charged with slaying Mercedes Williamson

An alleged street gang member, Josh Brandon Vallum, 27, has been charged with her slaying and is in jail. Bond for the ex-con has been set at $1 million.

A motive for the slaying has not been established. Agents with the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force have joined deputies from the George County Sheriff’s Department in the investigation, according to the Sun Herald newspaper of Gulfport, Mississippi.

“We are trying to determine whether (the killing) is drug-related, gang-related or a hate crime,” George County sheriff’s Capt. Ben Brown told the paper this week. “We will do a thorough investigation to bring justice to the victim’s family.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently published an in-depthreport on anti-transgender violence taking place across the country. The report quotes a study by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) that says since 2013 nearly 30 transgender women, most of them black and Latino, have been slain.

“We’ve had people burned in their homes,” Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a policy adviser for the Washington D.C.-based group, told the SPLC. “We’ve had people’s genitals mutilated after they’re dead. It’s absolutely rooted in transphobia and hatred and it’s absolutely a national crisis. And that’s just confirmed murders. It’s probably more.”

Just last year, for the first time, the FBI published statistics on the number of hate crimes based on gender identity, finding that 33 people were victimized in 2013, the latest numbers available. But the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released a similar report last year, finding that 344 trans people had been victimized in 2013, 13 of them killed.

There is no dispute that the life of young transwoman has been snuffed out.

Williamson lived in a rented, $50-a-week, one-bedroom camper in Theodore with Jeanie Miller, 41, according to the Sun Herald. Williamson slept on the sofa in the front of the camper. Miller took the back bedroom. They were more like mother and daughter than roommates, Miller told the paper.

“I was overprotective of her because she was closer to me than my own daughter,” Miller said.

Miller told the paper she last saw Williamson around 2 p.m. on May 30 when Williams left the camper, saying she was going to Gulf Shores. When Williamson did not return for a couple of days, Miller said she grew alarmed and called one of the teenager’s friends, who informed her that Williamson was dead.

On June 1, according to Sun Herald, Josh Vallum, the ex-con gang member charged with the murder, told his father that he had killed someone and left the body in the underbrush behind his father’s house. The father called the authorities and helped them search for and find the body.

Vallum later turned himself in.

Miller, the dead girl’s roommate, told the paper that she knew Vallum and that Vallum knew Williamson was transgender.

“It’s a horrible case, a sad situation,” Shonna Pierce, spokesperson for the George County sheriff, told Hatewatch today. “She was a beautiful person.”

Hatewatch Headlines, 6-24-15

By Hatewatch Staff on June 24, 2015 - 8:50 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

Newsweek: Anti-government activists are illegally mining for gold in a protected Idaho river to protest EPA ‘tyrants.’

Politico: Vladimir Putin’s Russian cabal plotted with right-wing American extremists to get Texas to secede.

New York Times: Council of Conservative Citizens promotes white supremacy along with Republican ties.

Talking Points Memo: FBI director says he wouldn’t classify Charleston shootings ‘terrorism,’ but DOJ attorneys appear to differ.

Esquire: What was deeply wrong with the gun-violence segment on Sunday’s ‘Meet the Press’, and why heads should roll.

Crooks and Liars: Texas man bolts six-foot Confederate flag on wall across from courthouse, refuses to take it down.

Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV): It’s time to hold Cliven Bundy and his lawbreaking backers accountable.

Organic Student Ministry: Heritage, hate, and the juvenilization of free speech.

Hatewatch Headlines, 6-23-15

By Hatewatch Staff on June 23, 2015 - 9:12 am, Posted in Hatewatch Headlines

USA Today: Walmart announces it will no longer sell items with Confederate flags on them.

Talking Points Memo: Experts say that attacks like the Charleston massacre worry cops more than Islamic extremism.

The Daily Beast: Onetime radio personality the ‘Southern Avenger’ now says he was wrong about the Confederate flag.

Salon: One insane Fox News segment illustrates how far conservatives will go to downplay the existence of racism.

Media Matters: CNN analyst destroys League of South leader’s assertion that removing Confederate flag is ‘cultural genocide.’

AL.com: Alabama KKK leader denounces Charleston shooting: ‘Violence is not the answer.’

AOL.com: Utah baseball team cancels ‘Caucasian Heritage Night’ after fans complain.

O.C. Weekly (CA): KKK fliers found in downtown Fullerton, but with ‘California’ misspelled.