More than a dozen high-profile white nationalist activists muddied their reputations in the world of the radical right recently by organizing and publicizing a protest campaign on behalf of a teenage shooting victim they assumed was a “pure-blooded” white.
It all began last Wednesday, March 19, when Suffolk County, N.Y., resident John H. White, 55, was sentenced to two to four years in prison for killing 18-year-old Daniel Cicciaro Jr. in August 2006. White, who is African-American, shot Cicciaro in the face at close range when the unarmed young man and three of his friends confronted White at the foot of White’s driveway on Long Island. They had followed White’s teenaged son, Aaron, home from a party after a quarrel. A jury convicted White of manslaughter earlier this year.
Minutes after a judge handed down the relatively light sentence (White faced up to 15 years in prison), the victim’s father, Daniel Cicciaro Sr., shouted to reporters, “As long as you’re black and there’s a problem at the foot of your driveway, you can shoot my son in the face? Let’s see what happens when Aaron White gets shot! Let’s see what the laws are then!”
The following day, white nationalist John Anthony Boone, posting as “OTPTT,” started a discussion thread on the neo-Nazi website Vanguard News Network (VNN) entitled, “White Father Responds Like White Man Over Light Sentence Given to Nigger!”
Later on March 20, another VNN senior member, Gina Brashear, posting as “firstname.lastname@example.org,” claimed to have made contact with the Cicciaro family. “I just hung up with Daniel’s father’s girlfriend. … She cried the whole time I spoke with her. I remained calm & level headed the entire 15 minute conversation I had with her. I am shaking so bad now, and crying, that I can hardly type. She said they have received numerous death threats from the nigger’s friends & family. I assured her there are thousands more supporters out there that will take up for them, than there is [sic] niggers. I have never felt such helplessness in this woman’s voice, she is a shell of hurt, anguish, and helplessness. … She said Daniel’s father is in bad shape, as far as anger, and wanting to retaliate. I told her we understand his anger all so well.”
Brashear then shifted into capital letters to implore VNN leader Alex Linder to launch a publicity campaign: “PLEASE ALEX, SOMEONE, UNDERTAKE AND MAKE IT A MISSION FOR US HERE AT VNN, AND OTHER GROUPS, & TO HELP THIS FAMILY OUT! I EXPLAINED WE WANTED TO GET DANIEL’S DAD TO SPEAK OUT & BE INTERVIEWED. SHE IS TALKING TO HIM AS I TYPE, AND IS GOING TO CALL ME BACK. THEIR NUMBER IS [number redacted by Hatewatch]. … CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GET A GAME PLAN IN ACTION TO START DEMANDING THAT A RE-TRIAL BE ORDERED. … DON’T LET THE CHANCE OF AN OUTRAGED WHITE FATHER’S PLIGHT BE IGNORED!!!!!!!!! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED TO IGNITE PEOPLE FOR OUR CAUSE, AND TO SEEK JUSTICE FOR THIS WHITE YOUNG VICTIM OF BLACK ON WHITE CRIME!”
During the next five days, the Cicciaro discussion thread was abuzz, as Boone, Brashear, Linder and others publicized the telephone number and other personal information of the judge who sentenced White, distributed a video clip of Cicciaro Sr.’s enraged comments, laid plans for a protest rally in Suffolk County, and swapped accounts of their emotional phone conversations with Cicciaro Sr. and his son’s mother.
“I just talked with Daniel Cicciaro and told him that I wanted to offer my encouragement and to let him know that he isn’t alone,” Boone posted March 22. “Also told him that if there was anything I, or others of us, could do for him that he shouldn’t hesitate to call. He said that he’ll sleep better tonight knowing that others care about him, his family, and this outrageous situation with the murder of his son. … His phone, mine, or both are tapped as there were periodic drop outs at specific intervals where the signal dropped for a fraction of a second.Maybe you all will consider sending him a card and word of encouragement? I think he needs it and I think it will do his heart good to get cards with encouraging words at this time.”
Several of the participants in the discussion suggested that Cicciaro Jr.’s death could be exploited for propaganda purposes in the same way that Linder and other racists exploited the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, a young white couple who were carjacked and killed by a group of African Americans last year in Knoxville, Tenn. White nationalists and others widely circulated graphic details of the brutal murders — many of them fabricated — and Linder organized a neo-Nazi rally in Knoxville against “black crime” that received substantial media coverage.
There was just one problem with the latest propaganda ploy by Linder and his friends: Christian and Newsom were blond and fair-skinned; Cicciaro Jr. (right) was half Puerto Rican. This alarming fact finally dawned on the intrepid crew at VNN when Cicciaro’s mother, according to Brashear, said after several days of phone calls from white nationalists ranting about “Jew judges” and “niggers,” “You know I’m Puerto Rican, don’t you?”
Needless to say, the enthusiasm of the VNN activists was dampened once they learned their race-war martyr was a “mud.” VNN member “Signal” spoke for many when he posted this incredulous comment: “235 posts before this finally comes out? Unbelievable. Research, people. Research.”