Angela King Recounts Her Time in the Neo-Nazi Skinhead Movement
Angela King is now 30 years old and determined to make up for the years she spent as a violent, neo-Nazi Skinhead. As an increasingly unhappy teen, King was drawn into the Skinhead lifestyle in Florida and ultimately became involved in a series of crimes, the worst of which was acting as a lookout during the armed robbery of an adult video store in which the store owner was badly beaten. When she emerged from prison at the conclusion of a three-year sentence, King had changed greatly and was now determined to make something of her life. In the four years since she was released, King has studied business education and earned an associate's degree, and she is now enrolled at the University of Central Florida, where she is working toward a bachelor's degree. She also has begun speaking publicly to college and community groups about her experiences. The Intelligence Report interviewed Angie King about her migratory Skinhead life, the influences she fell under, some of the groups she was a part of, and how, in recent years, she came to see the world in entirely new ways.
INTELLIGENCE REPORT: Angie, was there something about your childhood that you feel influenced some of your early decisions? What was your early family life like?
ANGELA KING: When I was younger, pre-school and elementary school age, my parents were very strict while they were still married. My father was Baptist and my mother was Catholic, so I was forced into both religions — I went to Baptist school as well as Catholic school. I have a younger sister and a younger brother. My younger brother wasn't born until I was about 11, but once he was my parents started having problems. Around that time, I started feeling really lost.
IR: What do you think was going on?
KING: Now that I'm older, I think I was trying to get the attention of my parents. It started out just like they say, smoking, then alcohol, then experimenting with drugs and then sex. I was really going through an identity crisis. A lot of things were really mixed up. And there was something I don't know if you want to put in.
IR: What was that?
KING: I felt like I was gay.
IR: Did you feel like you could talk to your parents about that kind of thing?
KING: My parents were both very prejudiced. My mom had bad experiences when she was younger, and it just carried over into her interpretations of things once she was an adult. My father was prejudiced, too. Growing up, I was always told that I could do anything I wanted and they would support me — except bring home someone black or a woman. So I kind of had those things hanging over my head.
IR: What was school like for you growing up?
KING: I grew up in Florida, way out west in South Florida, where there are barely any minorities at all. My parents had the money to put us in private school — they didn't feel that public school was something they wanted for us. But when I got into the 6th grade, we moved closer in to town, to Cooper City, and they put us into public schools. Not long after that, when I was 13 or 14, my parents finally split up. That was something I had a really hard time with. Also, we had gone from living in nice neighborhoods to living in really bad neighborhoods and apartments.
IR: When do you feel like things really started to go wrong for you?
KING: I think the first time I really got into trouble I was 14. I had gone to a movie with a friend and we tried to sneak in and got kicked out instead. So we went to a little corner store and bought wine coolers. A policeman driving by caught us drinking those, so they sent us to counseling.
It started out kind of small like that. But I just kept progressing. When I went to Cooper City High School, the area we lived in was the only real apartment complex around, so there were a lot of kids that sold drugs. It was mostly single-parent households, where even that parent wasn't home a lot. I really started getting heavily into stuff. I would run away from home. I was hanging out with a bad group of kids, and I kept getting attention. I was like, "Wow, I'm really cool, 'cause I keep getting in trouble and they all like me."
IR: Is this about when you ran into your first Skinheads?
KING: I was in 9th or 10th grade when I met some Skinheads at Cooper City High. When I first started there, I just went around from clique to clique, trying to fit in. That really didn't work. Then I met the Skinheads, and they were so willing to take me in, telling me, "We care about you." They started pounding stuff into me, giving me pamphlets and books to read. They were younger than me by a year or two, but through them I met the older ones, the adults, who lived by themselves and were in organized groups.
IR: What organized groups are you talking about?
KING: In the beginning, they weren't national groups. The first one I got involved in was one that we kind of made up ourselves called Strike Force. We would take other people's propaganda and cut it up and make our own fliers. We would post them all over, drink beer, hang out and get into fights.
There was all kinds of literature, from the Aryan Nations to the Church of the Creator [both well-known neo-Nazi groups]. The very first large-scale group I got involved in was [Idaho-based] Aryan Nations.
By the time I was 17, I had dropped out of school and ended up moving to Palm Beach into a house full of Skinheads. They were all members and had regular mail contact with Aryan Nations. The guy who owned the house had bought it when his parents died and he got an inheritance. We'd fly Nazi flags and Confederate flags from the roof.
IR: The police must have been aware of you. Were there confrontations?
KING: Yeah. And there were a lot of guns. One of the skins had a lot of guns and he was always going into the woods, camping and burying stuff and all kinds of weird things. So if the police would come to the door, the skins wouldn't answer — they would shut off the lights and give everybody a gun and tell them to go to a window.
One night, they didn't have any money and they wanted beer, so they went to a gas station and sent one of the younger kids in to steal beer. He went in, ran out and jumped in the car and they drove to the house. Of course, the cops got the license plate and they ended coming to the house. I wasn't there, but I think they threw the beer out of the car on the way home. I don't think anything ever came of that.
Usually, when something like that happened, there were no arrests made. Any time law enforcement came to the door, they would make me or the other girl there answer the door, because we were never in trouble and they always were.
IR: It sounds frightening.
KING: I didn't stay up there long. I was only 17, and there was so much trouble at the house all the time. I just didn't want to be in trouble. The guy I was dating was much, much older — he was about 27 at the time — and I had become pregnant. He was very, very violent, very abusive. He would hit me. He was in the Gulf War, and I think it did something to him. He was not right at all.
We went out one night and he was just driving around and around. We pulled into the parking lot of a big shopping center, and a guy we were with and his wife were in another car with a couple of other people. It was nighttime, and my boyfriend got out of the car, got something out of the trunk, and said stay in the car, but not in such nice terms. Soon, he came running back and threw something in the back seat and started screaming at me because I had gotten out of the car. Once we got back home, I realized what he had. It was a crowbar. From what I understood, he hit someone from what I now know was a gay club.