Landmark Case

Berhanu v. Metzger

Case Number


Fighting WAR
In 1988, Tom and John Metzger sent their best White Aryan Resistance (WAR) recruiter to organize a Portland skinhead gang. After being trained in WAR's methods, the gang killed an Ethiopian student. Tom Metzger praised the skinheads for doing their "civic duty."

Center attorneys filed a civil suit, Berhanu v. Metzger, asserting the Metzgers and WAR were as responsible for the killing as the Portland skinheads. In October 1990, a jury agreed and awarded $12.5 million in damages to the family of the victim, Mulugeta Seraw.

In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Metzger's appeal, allowing Center attorneys to begin distributing funds from the sale of WAR's assets. The principal beneficiary is Seraw's son, Henock, who receives monthly payments from WAR's bank account.