The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
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… )
A Louisiana businessman faces up to a year in jail and a maximum $100,000 fine after admitting in federal court Wednesday that he assaulted two black women working as Hurricane Isaac relief workers in 2012.
Josh Jambon, 52, of Grand Isle, La., pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to two counts of federal civil rights violations. Sentencing was set for October.
The boat rental and offshore-supply company owner admitted assaulting two female African-American Hurricane Isaac relief workers on Sept. 18, 2012, because of their race and because of their employment status. The assault was caught on video.
Today on Facebook, the businessman admitted “I lost my cool” before responding to what he described as a “media blitz of my episode.”
In the post laced with misspellings, Jambon said:
i have family and friends of different race and IM FIRM when i say im NOT a Racist !!! i will argue till im dead that im not a Racist.. I look for no recognition for what i do for the schools , private help , adavancement of people that want to get ahead in life . I challange anyone to attempt to do what ive done for minority orphanges in west africe [sic] as well as with in the US. Yes , i used racial comments but only after i was attacked with racial slurs.
His posting continued:
I stand on my story of TRUTH and Honesty.. The TRUE story will come out in the end and the liberals of the world will say im a liar. i travel the world and believe me there is another side to the story that the US media never presents . I hold truth to the honesty of the fFederal Government that they will handel [sic] this correctly and with dignity regardless of my white race.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Jambon was upset about damage to his property that he believed had been caused by a different crew and asked to speak to a supervisor. ( continue to full post… )
White supremacist Craig Cobb hasn’t stopped buying property in North Dakota, where last year he unsuccessfully tried to build an all-white racist enclave by quietly purchasing more than a dozen lots in the town of Leith. Hatewatch exposed the effort last August.
According to news reports, Renville County Auditor LeAnn Pollman said Cobb paid two years’ worth of property, totally $1,084, for an empty two-story house in Sherwood, population 242, about 180 miles north of Leith. The seller is Floyd Randall of Elk Grove, Calif.
While there is no indication that Cobb, who is on probation after pleading guilty to one count of felony terrorizing and five counts of misdemeanor menacing, intends to replicate his plans for Leith, there already appear to be efforts to roll up the welcome mat.
Renville County Sheriff Barry Vannatta said he was notified that Cobb was moving to Sherwood after Missouri denied Cobb’s request to move there, ostensibly to care for his ailing mother. Vannatta said he wasn’t sure of Cobb’s plans “for a little town up north in the middle of nowhere,” and he fears Cobb’s followers may be the next to move to Sherwood.
Sherwood Police Chief Ross Carter –– who is the town’s only police officer –– told The Bismarck Tribune that the house Cobb bought has been a blight for some time. Its residents have been mostly stray dogs and cats, and the last time Carter visited the house, he said it smelled overwhelmingly of dog and cat urine and feces.
North Dakota Parole and Probation spokesman Tim Tausend, who in May confirmed that Cobb was under investigation for his Internet activities on the white supremacist website WhiteNations.com, also told the paper that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had recently confiscated Cobb’s laptop computer because of complaints about his Internet activities.
A number of candidates who hold extreme views on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and government have either won their primaries or appear poised to do so. Here are some of the most notable examples.
In Colorado this week, state House candidate Gordon Klingenschmitt, who was court-martialed while a U.S. Navy chaplain and later claimed he performed an exorcism on a lesbian soldier, advanced to the general election, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
Klingenschmitt runs the Pray In Jesus Name Project, which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group. He defeated Dave Williams in the Republican primary by about 300 votes – 52.5 percent of the vote – to earn the right to face unopposed Democrat Lois Fornander in the GOP-leaning district on Nov. 4.
Klingenschmitt spells out many of his controversial, anti-LGBT views on his radio show, where once said, “The ultimate hate speech is to endorse homosexuality.”
As his political career took hold this week, he told the Colorado Springs newspaper: “I’m very humbled by the support of the voters. This was their campaign.”
“The voters are rising up with me to defend the First Amendment, religious freedom, smaller government, lower taxes and the right to life,” Klingenschmitt told the newspaper. “And those are the values I will fight for in Denver.”
In neighboring Oklahoma, Steve Kern, an evangelical pastor whose legislator wife has made incendiary comments about minorities and gay people, has advanced to an Oklahoma state Senate runoff, the Associated Press reported.
Kern’s wife, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern, is running unopposed for re-election. In 2008, she made national headlines when she said gay people pose a greater threat to the United States than terrorists. Two years ago, Sally Kern was reprimanded after denigrating blacks and women during a state House debate on an affirmative action bill.
Steve Kern has given every indication that he shares his wife’s views and agenda. He will face anesthesiologist Ervin Yen in an Aug. 26 run-off election to decide which of the two Republican candidates will face Democrat John Handy Edwards in November.
Yen, a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma State Senate District 40 seat, received the most votes – 39 percent of those cast for six candidates. A native of Taiwan, Yen will now have about two months to campaign against Kern to represent a district that is home to Oklahoma City’s largest community of Asian Americans. ( 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… )
Two white supremacist prison gang members – convicted of murdering a fellow white inmate because he shared a jail cell with a black man – were sentenced today to lengthy sentences in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
Donald R. LaFond Jr. was sentenced to life in prison and Jason Robert Widdison was sentenced to 31 years and eight months. Last February, the men were convicted by a jury of murdering fellow inmate Kenneth Mills inside the walls of the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta on March 1, 2011.
“These defendants, members of a white supremacist prison gang, brutally murdered another inmate for not objecting to having an African-American cellmate,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Whether racially motivated violence occurs on our streets or in our prisons, we will hold the perpetrators accountable.”
Evidence presented at trial showed LaFond and Widdison, both members of white supremacist prison gangs, were exercising inside the special housing unit recreation area of the penitentiary shortly before the crime.
Authorities said LaFond, 53, of New Bedford, Mass., was a member of the Aryan Resistance Militia while Widdison, 35, of Morgan, Utah. belonged to the Soldiers of Aryan Culture.
In weeks prior to the prison killing, LaFond and Widdison expressed anger towards the victim because the he had refused to protest the fact that he had an African-American cellmate, according to trial testimony.
“The defendants pressured the victim to take any steps necessary to be reassigned to another cell. Further evidence showed that the victim refused to comply with the defendants’ demands and that the defendants regarded this refusal as a violation of their gang code,” the Department of Justice said in a statement about the case.
On the day of the assault, the victim, who was white and not a gang member, joined the defendants in the recreation area and attempted to make conversation and walk around with them.
After a short period of time, LaFond and Widdison suddenly began to punch the victim from both the front and behind, knocking the victim to the ground, according to trial testimony.
The jury heard that both LaFond and Widdison then stomped on the victim’s head and neck, as many as 10 times each. Corrections officers witnessed the incident and intervened.
Both men ultimately complied with the officers’ orders to stop the assault, but by then, the victim was unconscious. He was taken to a hospital, but never regained consciousness and died on April 5, 2011.
The death in a federal correctional facility was investigated by the FBI.
“Law and order within a correctional facility setting is paramount in protecting the safety and lives of not only those inmates living within the walls of the facility but also for those working there,” J. Britt Johnson, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, said in a statement after the sentencing.
“The FBI will continue to provide investigative assistance to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in ensuring that these inmates with gang or supremacy affiliations are held accountable for their violent actions,” Johnson said.
Craig Cobb, the white supremacist who terrorized a small North Dakota town after attempting to build an extremist, whites-only enclave there, is under investigation for violating the terms of his parole, according to a local television station.
The investigation stems from Cobb’s activities on WhiteNations.com, an online racist forum managed by Stanley Edward Diggs of Houma, La. Diggs, who calls himself “Fred O’Malley” online, created White Nations after being booted from its competitor, Vanguard News Network (VNN), over his attempts to get rid of a user whom he falsely believed was working with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The Grant County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment when contacted by Hatewatch on Wednesday. But KX News reported that Cobb, or someone using his name and photo, has been posting information about people to White Nations, including family and biographical information about Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which publishes this blog.
According to KX News, 19 pages of evidence have been turned over to the sheriff’s department. A spokesperson for the North Dakota Department of Corrections, Tim Tausend, said that
Cobb’s parole officer, Kevin Hagen, is leading an investigation.
Cobb, 62, was arrested in November 2013, after parading through the streets of Leith, N.D., with a firearm –– something he claimed to have done in response to harassment. He was charged with seven felony counts of terrorizing, which would have carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail. But under the terms of a plea agreement, Cobb was sentenced to four years of supervised release and was prohibited from any contact with the victims, including by computer.
Since his release from jail, Cobb has been quite prolific, posting hundreds of times to White Nations under a section called “Cobb’s Corner,” including posts detailing how to make improvised flaming arrows with steel wool and a 9-volt battery.
A longtime local Justice Court judge in Canton, Miss., reportedly struck a mentally challenged, young black man on May 8 during a flea market in the town, cursing him and yelling, “Run, nigger, run!”
According to a report by Jerry Mitchell at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger is accused by the family of 20-year-old Eric Rivers, as well as several witnesses, of striking the young man at the Canton Flea Market and chasing him away while shouting racial epithets. The incident has spurred an angry protest from local NAACP officials.
Weisenberger, according to witnesses, was dressed in the uniform of a police officer, since he was moonlighting as a security officer for the market. The judge, who is white, reportedly began questioning the presence and behavior of Rivers, who is black, and slapped him twice, chasing him out of the market and yelling epithets after him.
One witness, a vendor at the fair, said she saw Rivers hanging out on the street corner in hopes of picking up work hauling goods from people’s cars to their booths at the market, a common practice. She said she saw Rivers asking people if they needed help: “That young man was wanting to work to earn money to buy a bike.”
The woman’s sister said she saw Weisenberger “rear back and slap” Rivers, and then chase him from the area with racial slurs.
“I do not care if this young man was being a nuisance,” said the first witness, who is white. “I do not care if he were breaking a law, I do not care if he were loitering, but I do care that a man of authority, one that is sworn to protect and serve, was slapping a young man.” ( continue to full post… )
On the night of July 3, 1998, two anti-racist skinheads — Lin Newborn, a black, charismatic body piercer, and his best friend, Daniel Shersty, a white, U.S. Air Force airman — were lured into the desert outside of Las Vegas by a woman promising a night of partying under the stars.
Instead, the young men were ambushed and shot to death in the sand. It was a pivotal event and a deadly escalation in the long civil war pitting racist skinheads against their anti-racist counterparts. Until that night, most of their clashes at music venues, on street corners and in back alleys ended in broken bones and bloodied noses, not bullet-riddled bodies.
John “Polar Bear” Butler, the leader of a Las Vegas neo-Nazi skinhead gang, was the only one arrested, charged and convicted of the killings. Butler was sentenced to death, although the sentence was overturned and he is now serving two life terms. But Newborn and Shersty’s grieving families and their comrades in the anti-racist movement always contended that there were others involved who should also be charged, including the woman who they said set the trap.
In 2012, nearly 14 years after the killings, the woman, Melissa Hack, her brother Ross Hack, and their friend Leland Jones, were arrested and charged in federal court with the murders of Newborn and Shersty.
The three proclaimed their innocence, but on Friday, according to the Las Vegas Sun, Hack, who was Butler’s girlfriend at the time, pleaded guilty in federal court to her role in the killings. Hack also agreed, the paper reported, to cooperate in the case against her brother and Jones, who are scheduled to go on trial in Las Vegas Aug. 18. ( continue to full post… )