Two members of the Golden State Skinheads (GSS) were arrested earlier this month on charges involving weapons, fleeing justice and hate-related vandalism.
William Scott Planer, 34, of Colorado, and Nathan Lowry, 28, of the East Bay area of Northern California, were arrested about 15 hours apart on the night of July 5 and morning of July 6 on unrelated charges.
The arrests come during a period of increasing focus on the crew by law enforcement. GSS earned this intense scrutiny after it led a march on California’s state capitol grounds in Sacramento last June. The event that day devolved into a roaming riot during which a number of individuals were stabbed and dozens were injured when GSS and its supporters, about 17 total, fought with a much larger contingent of counter-protestors.
GSS — led by Michael “Myers” Sessumes of Hayward, California — recently claimed the following in a piece published to its website, titled “Sacramento Rally Backlash”:
“As it has now been over a year since the June Rally and they have proceeded to start arresting members on rally related crimes whilst adding on a vast number of erroneous charges that we can only suspect as being falsified. We feel as if we’re being unjustly persecuted despite being legal activists because of the way the situation unfolded last June.”
In truth, only Planer’s arrest bears any connection to the Sacramento riot.
As images and video of the riot spread across social media sites, GSS, who marched that day under the banner of the national socialist Traditionalist Worker’s Party (TWP), gained notoriety across the white supremacist movement. Matthew Heimbach, TWP’s leader who failed to turn up for the march, immediately began raising money for his “comrades.” He branded them “Sacramento Spartans,” and a patch bearing his slogan later appeared on the flight jackets of GSS members present on the day.
Four months ago, California Highway Patrol delivered a 2,000-page report of the incident to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. The report details the scale of the violence wrought that day: 514 misdemeanor and 68 felony charges involving 106 individuals.
Now, just over a year later, GSS is struggling to hold on to their ambitions and capitalize on attention they garnered. Nevertheless, the crew is hoping their fellow white supremacists will — literally — bail them out.
Later in the “Sacramento Rally Backlash” piece, GSS writes, “We’ll have fund raisers up soon to attain proper lawyers and bail for those that [sic] are in need. We will have complete transparency with any and all funds gained for this purpose. Yet ultimately G.S.S. asks that our movement as a whole simply support us in any way that they can.”
Just before promising “complete transparency,” the crew assures its supporters that “None of us will flee and any who are charged will face all accusations in an open court and do so with pride in knowing our actions have always been legal and justified.”
William Planer, however, did the opposite.
Planer, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested on an active warrant as a fugitive fleeing justice in California. That warrant stems from a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, an incident that is alleged to have occurred during the Sacramento riot.
So much for the testament that “None of us will flee.”
The Anti-Defamation League further reported that Planer was also arrested for his alleged involvement in the defacement of the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado in June. Planer is accused of placing a sticker bearing a slogan advocating for the genocide of Jewish persons on the center’s front door. (Hatewatch requests to speak with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department regarding this charge went unanswered at time of publishing.)
The ADL also pointed out that Planer has recently met up with the Proud Boys in Colorado, Gavin McInnes’ group that claims to hold no connections to racists of any kind. But the Proud Boys weren't having anything to do with Planer and made it clear he was not welcome — via a megaphone — at a Boulder rally. Things were most likely a little less frosty with the TWP, who Planer visited in Pikeville, Kentucky in April of this year.
One of the youngest members of GSS, Nathan Lowry’s charges has nothing to do with him being a “Spartan” or any backlash from the Sacramento riot. Lowry faces two firearm charges; being a felon in possession of a weapon and the importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms related to interstate or foreign commerce. And this is not his first go-around; Lowry has a serious criminal record, as do some of his crew members, with past convictions for burglary and assault on a prisoner.
On its website just after the riot, GSS was eager to pat itself on the back: “The media has dubbed the June 26th rally as: ‘The Battle of Sacramento’ and has labeled us as the ‘Sacramento Spartans.’” In truth, they owe that label to Matthew Heimbach, whose TWP banner they marched under that June day, although he was absent from the battlefield.
No longer celebrating, the crew has their collective hand out, looking to collect coin rather than to offer congratulations. Will donations for Planer be used to support Lowry, who himself is also a “Spartan?”
As he lies in a cell, Planer’s $500,000 bond and future legal costs hang above him. Surely the TWP and Heimbach — who was quick to fundraise after the riot for his injured “Spartans” — and others within the white supremacist movement won’t abandon them.