The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Two young women from Brandon, Miss., have confessed to federal hate crimes related to racially-motivated assaults carried out by them and their associates against African-American people, culminating in the 2011 murder of a man run over with a truck.
James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker who was African-American, was struck and killed on June 25, 2011, by a Ford F250 driven by a gang of white youths. His brutal murder was captured on surveillance video and broadcast nationally.
The gang of youths essentially had made a sport of looking for disabled, homeless or intoxicated African-Americans to verbally harass and physically assault, and then boasted about their deeds with the belief that such individuals would be less likely to contact law enforcement.
Shelbie Brooke Richards and Sarah Adelia Graves, both 21, each pleaded guilty last week to one count of conspiracy to violate the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Justice Department said in a news release. Richards also pleaded guilty to an additional count of concealing information about a felony. Sentencing dates have not been set.
A hate crime charge is being added to others filed against an Illinois man who was arrested last week after he allegedly targeted a synagogue with extensive vandalism and anti-Semitic graffiti.
John White, 40, of Westmont, Ill., is being held under $5 million bond in the DuPage County Jail. He is charged with a hate crime at a place of religious purposes; institutional vandalism; illegal possession of a firearm, criminal damage to property and illegal possession of marijuana.
White was arrested on Oct. 21 after police responded to a report of a man driving a vehicle recklessly, damaging landscaping on the grounds of Etz Chaim Synagogue in Lombard, Ill. Moments earlier, seven windows at the synagogue had been broken and graffiti was written on an exterior wall.
DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Enza LaMonica told a judge on Friday that the suspect left a hatchet, a machete, an ax and a knife at the front entrance of the synagogue, the Chicago Tribune reported. Inside the suspect’s car, police found gun targets, rat poison, brass knuckles and a hateful note, the prosecutor told the court.
After White was arrested, police served a search warrant at his home in Westmont, Ill., where he lives with his mother. She told authorities her son, who as a record of drug arrests, has suffered from mental illness, the newspaper reported.
In the home, police located and seized “thousands of rounds of ammunition, and recovered a rifle, shotgun and four handguns.”
State Attorney Robert Berlin issued a statement calling the charges “extremely serious.”
“DuPage County is built on the strength of our communities, and an attack on a religious institution is considered an attack against the entire community,” the prosecutor said.
Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky issued a statement saying Congregation Etz Chaim “condemns the recent act of vandalism on our congregational building and the apparent bigotry behind it.”
Other places of worship are offering support.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Sabet Siddiqui, a representative of Masjid-Ul-Haqq Mosque in Lombard, said: “We stand together with Congregation Etz Chaim with respect and condemn these acts of hatred and antagonism against any religion.”
Eileen Maggiore, a pastoral associate at Christ the King Church in Lombard, expressed sorrow of such hate crimes. “It’s a terrible shame that this still happens in our world. We are grateful no one was hurt and we stand in solidarity with our neighbors at Congregation Etz Chaim,” she said.
Charges of committing a religious hate crime and manufacturing machine guns have been filed against an oil field worker in the small central California community of Taft.
Jack Alfred Dennis, 34, of Taft, posted a $42,500 bond and was released over the weekend after being arrested Sept. 12 by police who went to his place of employment, then served a search warrant at his home.
Dennis has been charged with two counts of possessing machine guns, two counts of manufacturing machine guns and a fifth count of committing a religious hate crime, Taft Police Lt. Peter Aranda told Hatewatch this week.
Police identified Dennis as a potential suspect after various community fund-raising signs produced by Westside Believers Fellowship, a church based in Taft, were defaced with anti-religious graffiti, Aranda said.”
While searching the suspect’s home for material used to deface these signs, officers discovered the [illegal] firearms in the residence,” Aranda said.
Officers also found an assortment of “antigovernment pamphlets,” which the police official couldn’t immediately describe more fully. They also found an assortment of books, including To Hell with God, Silent Death, The Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacturing, Vest Buster and Poor Man’s James Bond.
Aranda said police seized two AK-47 assault rifles, illegally modified to fire fully automatic, a bolt-action rifle and multiple “parts and pieces” for various firearms, along with more than 300 rounds of high-powered ammunition. No drugs or evidence of drug manufacturing were discovered.
“We don’t believe at this time he has any direct ties with any formal [extremist] organizations,” the police official said.
In a rather rare move, the FBI has posted a $2,000 reward to help solve a hate crime in which a woman who recently immigrated to the United States was assaulted by an attacker who yelled obscenities about Muslims.
The attack occurred on June 5 when “an unknown masked man forced his way into the victim’s home in Albuquerque, N.M.,” the FBI said Thursday in a prepared statement. The FBI, working closely with the Albuquerque Police Department, has labeled the incident a hate crime. ( continue to full post… )
A federal appeals court has reversed the convictions of an Amish splinter sect leader and 15 of his followers who were found guilty in 2012 of federal hate crimes after forcibly shaving the beards and hair of breakaway members of the religious community.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Wednesday that a federal trial judge in Ohio had improperly instructed the jury on the motive element of the crime, which was brought under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act.
At issue in the ruling was whether the trial jury had been properly instructed on how to determine if the crimes met the motive element of the federal hate crime act, which required that the faith of the victims be a primary cause of the assault and not simply a “significant factor.” If federal prosecutors decide to appeal, the case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Alternatively, prosecutors could decide to retry the case, correcting the jury instruction that resulted in the ruling. ( continue to full post… )
LAS VEGAS – A former “skinhead girl” now nearing middle-age, wearing sensible shoes and jailhouse shackles was the star witness in a federal courtroom here Wednesday, the first day of testimony in a racially charged double murder trial 16 years in the making.
Mandie Abels, who has the words “skinhead girl” tattooed across her back, was escorted by U. S. Marshals into courtroom 7C from a prison cell where she is serving a 15-year sentence for her role in what she called “a vile deed”—leading two anti-racist skinheads to their deaths in the desert just outside of Las Vegas.
In the early morning hours of July 4, 1998 Lin Newborn, 24, and Daniel Shersty, 21 were ambushed and shot to death, prosecutors say, by four white supremacists. “They despised what the victims stood for,” federal prosecutor Patricia Sumner told the jury during opening arguments Wednesday.
The killings were a shocking escalation in the violent—but until then rarely deadly—nationwide conflict between racist skinheads and their anti-racist rivals. Newborn, who was black and worked at a popular Las Vegas body piercing shop, and Shersty, who was a white U.S Air Force airman stationed at the nearby Nellis Air Force Base, were leaders of a fledging group called Las Vegas Unity Skins. ( continue to full post… )
The ghosts of Mississippi cannot rest.
Three years after a middle-aged black auto plant worker named James Anderson was killed in Jackson, Miss., when he was deliberately run over by a gang of white suburban teenagers in a pickup truck, federal law enforcement officials announced yesterday a new round of criminal indictments in the case that shocked and embarrassed the state.
During the attack, which included a savage beating in a motel parking lot in the early morning hours of June 26, 2011, someone in the truck shouted “White Power.”
On Wednesday, federal law enforcement officials announced that three of the people believed to have been in the pickup – Louis Blalack, who is now 20, Sarah A. Graves, 21, and Shelbie B. Richards, 20 – have been charged “with a racially motivated hate crime resulting in the death of a victim run over by a truck.”
Along with another suspected member of the gang of white youths, Robert H. Rice, 23, the three were also charged, according to a federal news release, for their alleged “roles in a conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes against African-American people in Jackson, Mississippi.”
For weeks before Anderson, 49, was killed, the group had been cruising the nighttime streets of Jackson in a two-car caravan, hunting, harassing and hurting African Americans.
They often carried pistols and beer bottles. Their main targets were the homeless and the high. ( continue to full post… )
This is a story about race and the city. It is set in Chicago, but it could take place anywhere ignorance and prejudice stubbornly cling.
On Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, a 55-year-old white man, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 240 pounds, allegedly spit on and slapped a slightly built, elderly black woman, apparently for smoking a cigarette too close to him outside on a street in downtown Chicago.
The man, David Nicosia, undoubtedly did not realize – or even imagine – that the silver haired, 79-year-old black woman he mockingly called “Rosa Parks” when he violently confronted her was a civil rights pioneer and local icon in her own right.
Her name is Arnette Hubbard — or, as the bailiffs and lawyers who enter her courtroom call her, Judge Hubbard. She was first appointed to the Cook County circuit court bench in 1997, after a long career as a lawyer and advocate for civil rights and women’s issues.
“She’s more than an icon, she’s historic,” lawyer Geraldine Simmons told the Sun-Times. “She has been an inspiration to young attorneys for years.”
The judge was outside a downtown courthouse and office complex on Monday, having a smoke when she walked past Nicosia, the owner of an IT company, who reportedly holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University. ( continue to full post… )
After a nearly four-month investigation, police in Dayton, Ohio have concluded that a white bus driver’s story – that he was shot in the chest by three black youths and that his life was saved because a slender religious tract in his shirt pocket stopped the bullets – was not a miracle but a lie.
“The whole thing was a hoax based on ugly racial stereotypes,” Mark Donaghy, executive director of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) told Hatewatch yesterday. “I don’t know if there’s anything that could make me more angry.”
Before police revealed the truth this week at a news conference and officially closed the case as “unfounded,” the story of Rickey Wagoner’s adventure in the pre-dawn darkness of Feb. 24 had flashed around the world.
The story had everything: crime, race, a middle-aged, out-of-shape working stiff turned superhero and the word of God literally saving a man’s life.
But Dayton’s director and chief of police, Richard Biehl, told Hatewatch “the high probability and likelihood is that this was a staged event.”
“We don’t believe, certainly,” Biehl said, “based on our ballistics testing, there’s any way possible he could have been shot in the chest in this book and those bullets not go well through that book and into his torso.”
Wagoner told reporters he had no comment when they knocked on his door after the chief’s news conference. ( continue to full post… )
Almost 100 people were murdered over the last five years by registered users of Stormfront, the largest racist Web forum in the world, according to a report released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The forum in effect acts to nurture budding killers and give them moral support, the report says.
A similar racist forum, Vanguard News Network (VNN), was used by neo-Nazi and former Klan leader Frazier Glenn Cook (formerly Miller), who was charged earlier this week with the murder of three people he mistakenly believed were Jews. Miller logged more than 12,000 posts on VNN in recent years.
Read the report here.