The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Anti-Muslim hate crimes soared by an astounding 50% last year, skyrocketing over 2009 levels in a year marked by the vicious rhetoric of Islam-bashing politicians and activists, especially over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York City.
Although the national statistics compiled by the FBI each year are known to dramatically understate the real level of reported and unreported hate crimes, they do offer telling indications of some trends. The latest statistics, showing a jump from 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2009 to 160 in 2010, seem to reflect a clear rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric from groups like Stop Islamization of America. Much of that rhetoric was aimed at stopping an Islamic center in lower Manhattan.
Never let it be said that the words of a simple “man on the street” can’t have far-reaching consequences in the modern world.
The Hazleton, Pa., Standard-Speaker newspaper is still coping with the fallout of an interview it published Aug. 15 in a regular print-edition-only feature called “Know Your Neighbor,” in which a local individual is stopped at random and asked to comment briefly on life in Luzerne County. That day, the paper interviewed a man identified as Richard Yanoski of the nearby town of McAdoo. ( continue to full post… )
Two psychologists testified this week that a Santa Maria, Calif., parolee charged with trying to murder a local waiter a year ago is mentally incompetent to stand trial. Curtis Martin allegedly asked a waiter at a Denny’s Restaurant if he was gay and when the victim answered that he was, Martin stabbed him twice.
Anthony Weston, one of three men charged with hate crimes in the beating of two Mexican citizens, has pleaded guilty and is expected to receive probation in exchange for his testimony against the other two defendants. Prosecutors say the three men attacked their victims outside a bar in San Francisco last November while yelling “white power.”
Ricky L. Hawkins was indicted on aggravated assault and civil rights intimidation charges for allegedly hitting a black man with a baseball bat in Lake City, Tenn., in 2010. Authorities said Hawkins, who is white, was shouting racial epithets at his victim when he was arrested and later told them that he was angry because the victim had dated a woman Hawkins was going out with. Hawkins reportedly had tattoos associated with the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations group.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter (pdf) to officials yesterday suggesting non-mandatory improvements in the way that the Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Department (SFPD) investigates hate crimes and other practices. The preliminary findings letter was part of a DOJ investigation of the department’s “patterns and practices” in the wake of the 2008 murder of immigrant Marcelo Lucero by a gang of white toughs.
Lucero’s murder by teenagers who had regularly engaged in the ethnic hunting parties they termed “beaner-jumping” shone a light on a community of immigrants who felt they were under siege, subjected to anti-immigrant violence and largely ignored or shunted aside by the police department. It also brought out the way that leading officials in the county had regularly demonized Latino immigrants.
The DOJ’s preliminary findings comported closely with those of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which published a September 2009 report on the situation entitled “Climate of Fear: Latino Immigrants in Suffolk County, N.Y.” Our report described not only how large numbers of Latinos in Suffolk County were subjected to hate crimes and other abuse, but also how many Latinos felt that SFPD officers ignored or belittled them, often declining to take reports after complaints were made. It also discussed the role of hate groups in the country and, especially, high-level public officials in contributing to an atmosphere of anti-immigrant hate — but those areas were outside the scope of the DOJ investigation. ( continue to full post… )
In its September newsletter, the chairman of the board of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Roy Porter, wrote a glowing paean to the group’s racist founder, John Tanton, in advance of FAIR’s Oct. 1 tribute to “John and his legacy.” Tanton played a critical role in the creation of several powerhouse anti-immigrant groups besides FAIR, including the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA, and is arguably the man most responsible for the modern nativist movement.
Porter gushed with praise for Tanton. “I’d like to express the board’s immeasurable gratitude to John, a man of extraordinary leadership ability, wisdom, courage, and compassion,” Porter wrote. In words reminiscent of those employed earlier by FAIR President Dan Stein to praise Tanton, Porter described the FAIR founder as “very much a Renaissance man, with expertise in such diverse fields as medicine, chemistry, ecology, history, literature, philosophy, politics, demography, agriculture, and land conservation.”
What’s not on Porter’s list of Tanton’s amazing abilities is racism. Nowhere is mention made of Tanton’s memos to FAIR’s board that questioned the “educability” of Latinos and warned darkly of a “Latin onslaught.” Also ignored are Tanton’s many racist comments including this 1993 gem: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” And that’s only the beginning. ( continue to full post… )
Residents in New Castle County, Del., have reported that the Ku Klux Klan is actively recruiting new members by targeting predominantly white neighborhoods in Newport, an area southwest of Wilmington. According to reports, a Klan group is leaving calling cards in sandwich bags filled with rocks that they throw out of car windows onto lawns and driveways.
A Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue employee alleges he is the victim of a hate crime. Upon arriving for work Aug. 28, 2011, Miguel Rodriguez alleges he found an unsigned note on his locker. The note contained anti-black and anti-Latino racial slurs and a threat if Rodriguez were to return to his shift. Rodriguez reported several other incidents of harassment last year. County authorities are investigating the alleged incident.
Jury deliberations resumed Monday in the trial of a California teen accused of murdering a gay classmate three years ago. Seventeen-year-old Brandon McInerney is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 15-year-old Larry King at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard. McInerney has pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder and a hate crime.
A Stockton woman was arrested for allegedly assaulting her child’s principal over a dress code violation by punching her in the face. Police say Pami Gibbs also is accused of making references to ethnicity during the attack on Evangelina Ramos. Gibbs was booked on two felony charges of battery, criminal threats, and three misdemeanors, including hate crime.
Police in Staunton, Va., are investigating an incident where an expletive and “KKK” were burned into a person’s yard last week. Police do not consider the incident a hate crime because the home is occupied by a white family. No arrests have been made.
Police are continuing to investigate an attack against a 21-year-old transgender woman who was beaten with a baseball bat in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Wash. According to police, who have stopped short of labeling the assault as a bias crime, the victim reported that she was attacked when a woman with a baseball bat, and a man, started following her and hit her. If an arrest is made, prosecutors will decide whether to pursue bias-crime charges against the attacker.
While much of the political rhetoric on the right these days is laden with violent imagery and gun-based metaphors, outright suggestions of political violence remain relatively rare. But in the wake of President Obama’s executive order last week that sharply limits deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants, that is changing.
Yesterday, speaking with far-right radio host Janet Mefferd, William Gheen, the leader of the nativist group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), said that legal political activity may no longer be sufficient to protect America from immigrants — in particular, he made it clear, from non-white immigrants. Gheen, who in the past tried to appear a moderate on the nativist scene, said that in order to save “white America,” it may be necessary to engage in “extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.”
His full quote: “We’re no longer referring to him as President Barack Obama, our national organization has made the decision and made the announcement, we now refer to him as dictator Barack Obama. That’s what he is. And, basically, at this point, if you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse, there really isn’t one that we can think of, and I’m really not sure what to tell people out there than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re illegal and violent.” ( continue to full post… )
Four self-described white supremacists in Houston have been arrested for brutally beating a black man at a bus stop. The Harris County district attorney is receiving criticism for not charging the men, members of the Aryan Brotherhood, with a hate crime.
An Arizona man implicated in the home-invasion murder of a Latino man and his daughter has been sentenced to two life terms in prison, one without parole. Albert Gaxiola was convicted for his role in the murder of Brisenia and Raul Flores in a robbery designed to fund the anti-immigrant Minuteman American Defense organization.
Police in Oklahoma are searching for a militiaman accused of raping a 7-year-old family member. Charles Dyer, a former Marine and online figure known as the “July 4 Patriot,” missed a court hearing on Monday and then sent an E-mail to his attorney stating that if he is not heard from in 90 days, he is dead. A nationwide manhunt is now under way for Dyer.
A man implicated in a potential hate crime committed on Friday in Santa Barbara has turned himself in. Ryan Christopher Zietlow-Brown was arrested and charged with attempted murder for stabbing an African-American man with a pair of scissors as he walked down the street with a white man.
Anti-Latino hate crimes in California spiked up by almost 50% last year, the state’s attorney general’s office reported Wednesday. That dramatic rise, from 81 such crimes in 2009 to 119 in 2010, followed a decade of declines.
The numbers may be indicative of a renewed national rise in hate crimes directed at Latinos, who are often assumed to be undocumented immigrants. Nationally, FBI hate crime statistics showed a 40% rise in such crimes between 2003 and 2007, but that was followed by decreases in 2008 and 2009. The national numbers for the year 2010 are not expected to be released until November of this year.
The national hate crime numbers are notoriously sketchy, and only give a very rough indication of trends in hate crimes. However, many experts consider California particularly good at reporting hate crimes, so that state’s statistics are considered much more accurate than most others’. California, along with Arizona, has been the scene of much conflict between native Americans and immigrants, and if that conflict is heating up there, a similar pattern may be developing nationally. ( continue to full post… )