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

Official Apologizes For Calling Immigrant’s Murder A ‘One-Day Story’

By Hatewatch Staff on November 18, 2008 - 10:19 am, Posted in Uncategorized

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who’s known for his anti-immigration policies, apologized for dismissing the hate crime killing of Ecudorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero as a “one-day story.”
Read full article

‘Beaner Jumping’ Results In Immigrant’s Death

By Hatewatch Staff on November 18, 2008 - 10:15 am, Posted in Uncategorized

Seven Patchogue, N.Y. teenagers who set out to “go fight Mexicans” are facing charges related to the beating and stabbing death of 38-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero, who was targeted for his perceived ethnicity, according to police.
Read full article

Trial Day 3 Update: SPLC Wins $2.5 Million Verdict for Teen in Klan Case

By Sonia Scherr on November 15, 2008 - 1:08 am, Posted in Klan, Lawsuits, Trial Updates

BRANDENBURG, Ky. — In a blow to one of the nation’s largest Klan groups, jurors yesterday awarded more than $2.5 million to a teenager who was assaulted by Klansmen at a county fair in rural Kentucky.

The verdict is expected to shut down the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), which has 16 chapters in eight states. “We intend to collect every dime we can on the judgment and do everything within our power to put the Imperial Klans out of business,” said Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen at a press conference after the verdict announcement.

The SPLC sued IKA leader Ron Edwards of Dawson Springs, Ky., contending that members of his Klan group attacked a 16-year-old U.S. citizen of Panamanian descent because they thought he was an “illegal spic.” Also named as a defendant was Jarred Hensley of Cincinnati, who served nearly three years in state prison for assaulting the teenager at a county fair in northwest Kentucky.

( continue to full post… )

Trial Day 3: Teen Describes Klan Beating in Final Day of Testimony

By Sonia Scherr on November 14, 2008 - 6:14 pm, Posted in Klan, Lawsuits, Trial Updates

BRANDENBURG, Ky. — A teenager gave an emotional account of his assault by Klansmen during the final day of testimony in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s trial against the Imperial Klans of America.

Jordan Gruver, who was 16 when he was attacked by IKA members at the Meade County Fair, told the jury that he was about to buy a drink from a concession stand when several Klansmen called him a “spic,” spat at him and threw whiskey in his face. Then Klansman Jarred Hensley struck a blow to his jaw that knocked him off his feet. Gruver showed the jury how he curled up in a fetal position and tried to protect his head with his arms. While he lay on the ground, Klansmen kicked him with steel-toed boots.

( continue to full post… )

Trial Day 2: Witness Details Edwards’ Plot to Kill Dees

By Sonia Scherr on November 13, 2008 - 9:56 pm, Posted in Klan, Lawsuits, Trial Updates

BRANDENBURG, Ky. — In dramatic testimony today, a former white supremacist told the court that the head of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA) instructed him to assassinate Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees (below).

Morris Dees

“[IKA leader] Mr. [Ron] Edwards is a very dangerous man to me,” said Kale Kelly, who was once a trusted member of Edwards’s inner circle. “He promotes violence and hatred [toward] anybody who he feels threatens him: minorities, Jews, blacks. I’ve lived with him. I know this.”

Kelly’s testimony, which came during the second day of SPLC’s trial against Edwards, struck a blow to the heart of the Klan leader’s defense: That he does not encourage his members to commit violent acts. It also contradicted Edwards’ earlier testimony that he never told Kale to kill anyone.

The SPLC sued Edwards of Dawson Springs, Ky., in civil court, contending that members of his Klan group attacked and severely injured a 16-year-old boy of Panamanian descent because they mistakenly thought he was “an illegal spic.” Also named as a defendant was Jarred Hensley of Cincinnati, who served two years in state prison for assaulting Gruver at a county fair in northwest Kentucky. The SPLC hopes to win damages large enough to shut down the IKA, one of the largest Klan groups in America.

( continue to full post… )

Kentucky Klan Trial Day 2: Bulletin

By Mark Potok on November 13, 2008 - 3:08 pm, Posted in Klan, Lawsuits, Trial Updates

A former member of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA) testified today that the group’s leader led a plot to kill the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), according to The Associated Press.

The AP said that Kale Kelly, who is testifying for the SPLC in a lawsuit against the Kentucky-based IKA, testified that IKA leader Ron Edwards wanted to kill the SPLC’s Morris Dees. Edwards was said to be infuriated by an SPLC lawsuit tried by Dees against another white supremacist group, the Aryan Nations, in 1999.

The SPLC sued the IKA, Edwards, and several IKA members over the beating of a 16-year-old boy at a county fair by two IKA members.

Hatewatch will report fully on these developments later in the day.

Duke Claims Triumph at Shortened, Relocated EURO Conference

By Larry Keller on November 13, 2008 - 12:08 pm, Posted in White Supremacist

David Duke revealed this about himself last Saturday: He’s no whiz at math. Or logic.

Speaking to the faithful at a conference of his European American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), Duke said that while nobody is for lynching, liberals have falsely portrayed the history of the gruesome practice. Contrary to popular belief, Duke said, most of the roughly 5,000 people he said were lynched in this country were white. Then he said as many as half of the victims were black.

Either way, he’s wrong.

Between 1882 and 1968, there were 4,743 lynchings in the United States, and 3,446 of the victims were black, according to the Archives at Tuskegee Institute. That means nearly 73 percent of those lynched were black.

None of the diehards at the EURO conference questioned Duke’s figures. They were too busy congratulating one another for even having a conference. For a while last week it appeared that Duke’s fans might not get to hear his wisdom on lynching and other racial issues. It even appeared Duke might end up sleeping on a bench at a Greyhound station or under a tree in a city park.

EURO initially scheduled a conference Nov. 7-9 at a hotel and resort in Olive Branch, Miss., near Memphis. The hotel booted the group out on Nov. 4, citing safety concerns as a result of the furor created by the Duke group’s planned appearance.

Duke’s co-organizer of the event, James Edwards (pictured with Duke below), host of radical-right Memphis radio show “The Political Cesspool,” was so traumatized by this development that “my body literally went into a convulsive state,” he wrote on his program’s website. “I can remember gagging while I was on the phone with David as we tried to determine what our options were. The stress was nearly more than I could bear.” Meanwhile, Duke’s notoriety got him ejected from three hotel rooms, according to Edwards.

David Duke and Edwards

( continue to full post… )

Trial Day 1: Steel-Toed Boots Help SPLC Make Case Against Klan

By Sonia Scherr on November 12, 2008 - 11:54 pm, Posted in Klan, Lawsuits, Trial Updates

BootsBRANDENBURG, Ky. — A jury got a look today at the weapon that was used in a Ku Klux Klan assault on a 16-year-old boy: a pair of steel-toed black boots with bright red laces.

The boots played a key role in testimony during the first day of the civil trial against the leader of the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), one of the nation’s largest Klan organizations with 16 chapters in eight states. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a civil lawsuit against IKA leader Ron Edwards, contending that members of his group assaulted and severely injured Jordan Gruver in July 2006 at a county fair in Brandenburg, about 40 miles southwest of Louisville.

Gruver, a U.S.-born citizen of Panamanian descent, was attacked because the Klansmen wrongly assumed he was “an illegal spic.” By suing Edwards and Jarred Hensley — a Klansman who pleaded guilty to attacking Gruver — the SPLC hopes to win damages large enough to shut down one of America’s most dangerous Klan groups.

Today, the SPLC began making its case before a jury at the Meade County Courthouse in Brandenburg. The boots with red laces were introduced into evidence during the testimony of Joe Greer, a detective for the Meade County District Attorney’s Office who investigated the assault on Gruver. Greer used a magnet to demonstrate how he confirmed that the boots had steel toes. He also testified that they were the boots Hensley had on the night he and another Klansman kicked Gruver after knocking him to the ground.

SPLC lead trial attorney Morris Dees returned to the boots during his questioning of Edwards, who runs the IKA from his 15-acre compound in Dawson Springs, Ky. Dees got Edwards to admit that steel-toed boots are “the weapon of choice” for skinheads, which Edwards welcomed into his group despite knowing of their propensity for violence.

“What’s the significance of the red laces?” Dees asked.

“That means someone shed blood for their race.” Edwards replied.

Edwards, who spent about 2½ hours on the stand today, sports several tattoos on his shaven head that were visible in the courtroom, including “Fuck S.P.L.C.,” “Death to ZOG [Zionist-occupied government]” and “Aryan Justice.” Hensley also has numerous tattoos, including the word “violence” on his knuckles, “murder” below his neck, and a swastika on his arm. ( continue to full post… )

Details Emerge On Accused Louisiana Klan Killer’s History

By David Holthouse on November 12, 2008 - 3:11 pm, Posted in Klan

Chuck FosterRaymond “Chuck” Foster (right), the Ku Klux Klan leader who was arrested yesterday for killing a woman following a backwoods Klan initiation ritual, has a history of Klan activity dating back at least to January 2001.

Foster, 44, was the founding Imperial Wizard, or national leader, of the Southern White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a Klan faction that formed on January 1, 2001, in Watson, La.

During the next three years, the group developed chapters in three other states while maintaining a low profile with the exception of a single incident in 2003 when a White Knights official in Ohio, Jeremy Parker, drew attention by posting instructions for making a pipe bomb on the Internet in response to a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. “Sure would hate to see anything happen,” he wrote.

In 2004, the Southern White Knights had active chapters in Savannah, Ga., Homosassa Springs, Fla., and Marion, Ohio, as well as the founding chapter, which by that time had relocated to Denham Springs, La.

The Southern White Knights disbanded in early 2005. Most of its members–not including Foster—resurfaced later that year as the Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a relatively large Klan group that currently has nine active chapters in eight states, none of them in Louisiana.

The woman Foster allegedly murdered, identifed by police as 43-year-old Cynthia C. Lynch, was apparently recruited over the Internet to join Foster’s latest Klan group. Today’s media accounts of this rapidly developing story have variously identified that group as the Dixie Brotherhood and/or the Sons of Dixie.

Hatewatch is unaware of any Klan group by either of those names operating anywhere in the country.

However, last year a new Klan group calling itself the Dixie Rangers Knights of the Ku Klux Klan formed in Walker, La., about 80 miles from the rural scene of the alleged murder.

It’s unclear at this point if the Dixie Rangers and the Dixie Brotherhood/Sons of Dixie are one and the same.

( continue to full post… )

Klan Trial to Begin Tomorrow in Kentucky

By Sonia Scherr on November 11, 2008 - 5:02 pm, Posted in Klan, Lawsuits, Trial Updates

Brandenburg, Ky. — Trial is scheduled to start tomorrow in the case of a teenager who was beaten by Klansmen at a county fair in rural Kentucky.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued the head of one of the nation’s largest Klan groups, the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), alleging that members of the group assaulted and severely injured 16-year-old Jordan Gruver during a 2006 recruiting drive at the Meade County Fairgrounds. The civil lawsuit contends that Gruver, a U.S.-born citizen of Panamanian descent, was targeted because the Klansmen thought he was “an illegal spic.”

The case aims to hold IKA leader Ron Edwards accountable for the attack that was perpetrated by members of his group. The SPLC hopes to win a verdict large enough to shut down the organization, which has 16 chapters in eight states. Also named as a defendant is Jarred R. Hensley, one of two Klansmen convicted of assault in criminal court for his attack on Gruver.

We will post daily dispatches as the trial unfolds this week in Meade Circuit Court.