Profiles of 10 Racist Skinheads
Racist skinhead culture has long brimmed with violence and venom.
Brien James, 30
HOOSIER STATE SKINHEADS/ VINLANDER SOCIAL CLUB
Even in the violent world of racist skinhead subculture, there are thugs, and there are thugs. Brien James, co-founder of the Vinlander Social Club, is a thug's thug. In the opinion of neo-Nazi activist and longtime James antagonist Bill White, the beefy tattoo shop owner from Indiana is "nuts and violent -- a joke you want to keep away from you because you know he's going to do so something to bring the cops over."
Like punch and stomp a man to the brink of death at a party for refusing to seig heil, as James did in Indianapolis in 2000. "I have been tried for attempted murder and multiple batteries and hate crimes," James boasted years later. "My JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] file is a mile long."
James began his gang career young, when he and some childhood friends in Knightstown, Ind., formed a gang called the Knightstown Boys. In his late teens, James became involved with the Klan before helping to found the Outlaw Hammerskins in 1999 in the first direct challenge to the authority of Hammerskin Nation.
Online, James uses the screen name "Hando2000," an apparent reference to the character Hando, played by Russell Crowe in the 1992 cult film classic, "Romper Stomper." In the movie, Hando is the leader of a racist skinhead gang in Australia. Like Hando, James has a reputation for trying to exert total control over whatever skinhead crew he's running with by acting as the "brains" behind the outfit, as well a good portion of the brawn. Invariably so far, the demands of his huge ego have led James to eventually split from his current crew to form a new gang, with himself as its self-appointed leader.
In 2002, James left the Outlaw Hammerskins to found the Hoosier State Skinheads along with Eric "The Butcher" Fairburn.
In October of 2005, James helped convene a "Blood & Honour" coalition of 17 white supremacist groups in yet another direct challenge to the de facto national leadership of the Hammerskins. This challenge was also reflected in the creation by James, Fairburn and others of the Vinlander Social Club, a coalition of regional skinhead crews -- including the Hoosier State Skinheads, the Ohio State Skinheads, and the Keystone State Skinheads -- that do not recognize the authority of Hammerskin Nation.
Tensions between the Vinlanders and other neo-Nazi groups exploded in Kentucky at last May's hate-rock festival known as Nordic Fest. The violence was sparked by Missouri National Socialist Movement member Steven Boswell, who started a speech touting NSM accomplishments by telling his audience that the white supremacist movement could not succeed "by belonging to a social club where all we do is drink and shoot the shit every Saturday night."
James and fellow members of the Vinlander Social Club took the comment personally. They rushed Boswell immediately after his speech and beat him in front of his wife and young daughter. Other NSM members were attacked as well in the melee that ensued. NSM member Gary Robinson described his comrade Austin Ibarra's face as looking "like hamburger covered in bootprints."
Notch one more party wrecked by Brien James and company.