SPLC Wins Injunction Against Aryan Nations

Center Suit

The Southern Poverty Law Center in late February secured an order restraining the Aryan Nations from selling its Idaho compound while an SPLC civil suit proceeds against the neo-Nazi group, its leader Richard Butler and several of his followers.

Center attorneys said Butler's compound was his only substantial asset and argued that, if Butler did sell the land, it would cheat the plaintiffs out of any possible damage award.

The Center alleged that Butler "has vowed that he will destroy the compound before he will allow it to fall into the hands of his perceived 'enemies' to satisfy a court judgment."

It cited a former Aryan Nations official who quoted Butler saying "he would burn [the compound] to the ground" rather than lose it to an Center-represented plaintiff.

And the Center said that the day Butler was served initial notice of the lawsuit, he went to a legal forms outlet to obtain papers that would have allowed him to create a trust.

The Center suit alleges that members of Butler's security force shot at the two plaintiffs, Virginia Keenan and her son Jason; chased them for more than two miles and forced their car into a ditch; and battered and threatened to kill them.

In late March, one of the named defendants — security force chief Jesse Edward Warfield — pleaded guilty to reduced criminal charges in the assault. Warfield had been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, but pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aiding and abetting aggravated assault. A sentencing date has not been set.