Montgomery, Ala. – Today, Johnny Roman Garza, a 21-year-old member of a Neo-Nazi group called the Atomwaffen Division, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for threatening a Jewish journalist and conspiring to threaten both journalists and staffers from the Anti-Defamation League, which works to combat anti-Semitism. Garza had previously pled guilty in federal court for his role in the plot.
SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang issued the following statement in response:
“We applaud federal law enforcement authorities and prosecutors for breaking up this plot before it could lead to violence or bloodshed. But while we are glad that Garza will be punished for his anti-Semitic and hate-filled threats, we are keenly aware that his actions are part of a growing pattern of bigotry and white supremacist violence in our country. The FBI recently reported that hate-crime killings hit a record-high last year, and that there was a sharp increase in anti-Semitic crimes.
“Meanwhile, President Trump has exacerbated his already-pervasive attacks on journalists in his quest to convince the public of widespread election flaws, a baseless and dangerous lie. In doing so, he is threatening the lives of people tasked with exposing the truth to the public -- and who play a crucial role in our democracy.
“It is imperative for our leaders to take meaningful steps to tamp down racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry, not to fuel them.”