The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
An Indiana man who pleaded guilty yesterday to setting an Ohio mosque on fire told a judge he was motivated by media accounts – specifically those on Fox News – suggesting Muslims were threatening Americans and were in control of parts of the federal government.
Details made public at the plea hearing also revealed that the arsonist, Randolph Linn, was carrying a pistol when he entered the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo on September 30, only minutes after several worshippers had left, and had more guns in his car.
Linn, a 52-year-old truck driver from St. Joe, Ind., expressed no remorse when he admitted trying to burn down the third largest mosque in the United States. Under the terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors and Linn’s defense attorney will recommend a prison term of 20 years when he is sentenced early next year.
Three Mennonite sisters, ranging in age from 84 to 90, remained hospitalized in Lancaster County, Penn., after being assaulted in their home in what authorities describe as a “heinous” and “unfathomable” hate crime.
The alleged perpetrator, 22-year-old Dereck Taylor Holt, was arrested Saturday, one day after a man posing as an insurance salesman forced his way into the women’s home. Over a two-hour period, the assailant used a stun gun on the women and punched, slapped and kicked them. They were left bound for about four hours after the assailant ransacked the house and fled, the Lancaster Intelligence Journal reported in today’s editions. ( continue to full post… )
UPDATE: Police in New York City arrested Salvatore Perrone, 64, over the Thanksgiving weekend and charged him with using a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle he carried in a duffel bag to kill three Brooklyn shopkeepers in the last four months. People who saw surveillance footage of Perrone, who’s white, pointed police to Perrone, despite an artist’s drawing that depicted a balding black man as the suspect. Dubbed “Son of Sal” by his neighbors for his annoying conduct, Perrone may have had previous contact with his victims through his work as a fabric and garment salesman who wanted to start his own clothing line, according to media accounts. He was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, an additional count filed because he allegedly killed three people within two years.
Hate crime detectives in New York City are joining the investigation into three unsolved killings of Brooklyn business owners in the past four months – crimes believed to have been carried out by a serial killer. ( continue to full post… )
If a white man is attacked and murdered because he was “hanging out” with black friends, should that be investigated as a federal hate crime?
That question looms in Louisiana after 24-year-old Michael Luke “Boulon” Darby was fatally stabbed earlier this month outside a bar in Lafayette, where he had gone with two friends who are African-American. ( continue to full post… )
It happened again this week. A woman in Louisiana told police that she had been set afire in a horrifying hate crime Sunday — only to have police, after a full-tilt investigation, say yesterday that she had fabricated the story.
Sharmeka Moffit, 20, set herself on fire in a park in Winnsboro, La., Police Chief Lester Thomas told a news conference late yesterday. She earlier told police that she had been attacked by three men of unknown race who were wearing “T-shirt hoodies.” A racial slur and the letters “KKK” were found daubed on her car when police arrived within one minute of her call to 911. A major investigation involving the Winnsboro Police Department, the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office and the state police was launched.
Her story, like those of several other people who fabricated stories about hate crime attacks recently, was odd from the start. Despite the very rapid response of police, they found no suspects or vehicles at the park when they arrived. Moffit also called her sister after her 911 call, a remarkable thing for a woman who was supposedly already on fire, and who is now in critical condition with third-degree burns over 60% of her body. In addition, both black and white town officials said that Winnsboro enjoyed remarkably good race relations. ( continue to full post… )
Update: Late Tuesday afternoon, authorities in Louisiana said Sharmeka Moffitt, a 20-year-old African-American woman, set herself on fire in a park in Winnsboro, La., Sunday night and faked what appeared to be a brutal, racially motivated hate crime. The alleged attack rattled the small city of 5,000 residents, dredging up memories of the state’s racially violent past. Moffitt had told police three men doused her with a flammable liquid and set her ablaze. “It’s been a very disturbing case for everyone involved,’’ the Franklin News quoted Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas as saying at a news conference Tuesday. The authorities said that Moffitt’s fingerprints were on the cigarette lighter and the lighter fluid recovered near the crime scene, adding that a racial slur and the letters KKK that were written in toothpaste on Moffitt’s car were linked to female DNA. “I’m speechless,’’ Winnsboro City Council member Betty Johnson told Hatewatch after hearing the attack was a lie. “You know we will continue to pray for her. She needs a lot of help.’’
The small Louisiana city of Winnsboro was filled with shock, rumors and prayers Tuesday as residents anxiously waited for law enforcement officials to determine who set a 20-year-old African-American woman on fire in a local park Sunday night – and why.
“We’re hoping the police will handle this before it escalates any further,” Betty Johnson, a member of the Winnsboro City Council told Hatewatch Tuesday, adding that “some of the younger people in town” are saying “somebody is going to pay for this.”
“But we don’t know who did it,” Johnson said. “We don’t know for sure what happened.” ( continue to full post… )
Authorities in Nevada may have just aborted another mass shooting with the arrest of an 18-year-old, self-professed militia leader who authorities say planned to “conduct mass killings” and “bragged about plans to shoot people on the Las Vegas strip.”
Steven Matthew Fernandes, who claimed to be a member of the Southern Nevada Militia, was arrested by FBI agents last month after three separate informants provided information about the teenager building and exploding bombs, amassing “an arsenal of weapons” and boasting of his killing prowess. ( continue to full post… )
Federal hate crime charges were filed today in Ohio against an Indiana man, Randolph Linn, who is a suspect in last weekend’s arson fire that heavily damaged the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.
Linn was charged with intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious property, and with using fire and explosives to commit a felony, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced. ( continue to full post… )
Muslims and their places of worship “are clearly under attack,” says the president of one of the country’s largest mosques, which was heavily damaged four days ago in an arson fire.
“We’re actually reeling in disbelief,” Dr. Mahjabeen Islam, president of the Islamic Center of Toledo in Ohio, told Hatewatch today in describing the devastation caused by a fire deliberately set in the mosque’s prayer area on Sunday afternoon, just minutes after worshippers had left the building.
“This is a hate crime and it’s very significant it was started in the center of the prayer area, right under the dome,” said Islam. The mosque she heads is the third largest in the United States, a 70,000-square foot landmark, visible for miles, with 3,000 members who will celebrate the center’s 32nd anniversary on Friday. ( continue to full post… )