San Diego Minutemen Leader Ordered to Pay $135,000 for Defaming Woman

Jeff Schwilk — the hot-tempered leader of the San Diego Minutemen, a nativist extremist organization with a reputation for violent confrontations and crude insults — has been ordered to pay $135,000 to a Korean-American civil rights activist who filed a defamation lawsuit against Schwilk and SDMM founding member and former spokesman Ray Carney in 2007.

Joanne Yoon sued Carney and Schwilk for $1 million after the men circulated photos of her in late 2006 along with comments referring to her as “the Korean anorexic ACLU slut.” Yoon, who was then 24, helped monitor SDMM rallies for the American Civil Liberties Union. The images of her were posted to a Yahoo group titled “Korean Kommie Kunt.” Ever the sensitive soul, Schwilk changed the name of the group to “Joanne Yoon ACLU Goon” after female SDMM activists objected. But that didn’t stop Carney from sending a mass E-mail to SDMM members suggesting that Yoon was interested in protecting the civil rights of Mexican immigrants because of her fondness for “Brown Schlong.”

Schwilk was ordered to pay compensatory damages yesterday after a Superior Court jury decided against him. Punitive damages will be decided May 26. The court also entered a default judgment against Carney, who did not file a response to Yoon’s lawsuit.

Schwilk’s attorney called the decision “an injustice” and vowed to file an appeal.