Archive for the ‘Mark Potok’ Category

Police: College shooting possible hate crime; victim was gay

EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press MARTHA WAGGONER, Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Police say they are investigating the fatal shooting of a gay community college worker as a hate crime, while the man charged in the killing told a judge he had gotten rid of his former supervisor because he molested a relative.

Kenneth Stancil made the unsolicited accusations Tuesday when he appeared before Judge Christopher Kelly in Daytona Beach. The judge warned Stancil he had the right to remain silent.

A Wayne County sheriff’s office clerk says Stancil did not file anything about a relative being molested or any other complaint with the sheriff’s office or Goldsboro police.

Stancil is accused of killing Ron Lane, the print shop director at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on Monday.

Stancil was denied bond and appointed a public defender.

update

GOLDSBORO (AP) Police said Tuesday they were investigating the fatal shooting of a gay community college worker as a possible hate crime.

The shooting victim, 44-year-old campus print shop director Ron Lane, was gunned down by former student Kenneth Morgan Stancil III on Monday morning, police said. Lane dismissed Stancil from the print shop’s work-study program in March because he had too many absences.

Police have not released a motive in the shooting and said the men’s relationship was purely a supervisor-student one. Calls to Stancil’s home were not returned and family members declined comment to an Associated Press reporter.

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Police: College shooting possible hate crime; victim was gay

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Police: North Carolina college shooting possible hate crime; victim was gay

By EMERY P. DALESIO and MARTHA WAGGONER

GOLDSBORO, N.C. —

The shooting victim, 44-year-old campus print shop director Ron Lane, was gunned down by former student Kenneth Morgan Stancil III on Monday morning, police said. Lane dismissed Stancil from the print shop’s work-study program in March because he had too many absences.

Police have not released a motive in the shooting and said the men’s relationship was purely a supervisor-student one.

Lane’s supervisor at the college said Lane was gay, but police refused to say why a hate crime was being investigated.

“At this time, I’m not prepared to divulge that information,” Goldsboro police Sgt. Jeremy Sutton said at a news conference.

An expert who tracks hate groups said Stancil’s facial tattoo with the number “88” was a clear indication of a neo-Nazi, who have been accused of attacking gays. However, police have not said whether Stancil held white supremacist beliefs.

Police say the 20-year-old Stancil entered the Wayne Community College print shop where he used to work and fired once with a pistol-grip shotgun, killing Lane, his former supervisor, just as Lane was arriving for work. The shooting sparked a campus-wide lockdown as police stormed the building searching for Stancil, who immediately fled on a motorcycle. The manhunt lasted for nearly a day and ended with Stancil’s arrest on a Florida beach.

“Mr. Stancil had a calculated plan,” Sutton said.

After the shooting, police found the motorcycle abandoned in a median on Interstate 95 in Lumberton, North Carolina, about 80 miles south of Goldsboro, where the college is located.

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Police: North Carolina college shooting possible hate crime; victim was gay

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20 Years Later, Sabotage Of Amtrak's Sunset Limited Still A Mystery

On October 9, 1995, the Amtrak Sunset Limited passenger train derailed in the Arizona desert over 50 miles from Phoenix. Nearly 100 passengers were injured and one Amtrak employee was killed. Courtesy of FBI hide caption

On October 9, 1995, the Amtrak Sunset Limited passenger train derailed in the Arizona desert over 50 miles from Phoenix. Nearly 100 passengers were injured and one Amtrak employee was killed.

The mystery goes back 20 years.

It was an ordinary, cross-country train trip back in 1995: Amtrak’s Sunset Limited passenger train, bound for Los Angeles from Miami.

The train never reached its destination: it was sabotaged, and derailed in the Arizona desert.

The investigation continues to this day: On Friday, at the FBI Field Office in Phoenix, assistant special agent in charge Mark Cwynar announced a $310,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those who derailed the Sunset Limited.

“We want to send a message to those responsible to this senseless act of sabotage. And that message is simple,” Cwynar said. “We are very close, we are watching and we will bring you to justice.”

Out In The Middle Of The Desert

The story begins on the night of October 9th, 1995, sometime around 1:30 a.m.

Passenger Neal Hallford was jolted awake by a horrific sound: The train’s brakes screaming up ahead.

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20 Years Later, Sabotage Of Amtrak's Sunset Limited Still A Mystery

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April 13, 2015   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Three KKK members who worked in a Florida prison accused of plot to kill inmate

Three current and former employeesof the Florida Department of Corrections who were also members of the Ku Klux Klan were arrested Thursday in an alleged conspiracy to kill a former inmate after his release from prison, the Florida attorney generals office said in a statement.

The former inmate allegedly targeted by the three men is African American. The defendantsall conspired to kill an inmate after an altercationbetween the inmate and one of the three corrections employees some time before November of last year, Attorney General Pam Bondi told reporters on Thursday afternoon, adding, These men are alleged to be known members of the Ku Klux Klan.The target of the alleged plot has not been identified by authorities.

Thomas Jordan Driver, 25, David Elliot Moran, 47, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 42, were charged with one state count each ofconspiracy to commit murder.Driver and Morgan worked at theDepartment of Corrections Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler at the time of their arrest,attorney general office spokesman Whitney Ray said.

Newcomb is a former employee of the same facility, whichprocesses newly-committed male inmates into the state system and provides medical care for inmates across the state.

The two correctional officerswho were working for the department at the time of their arrest have beendismissed, theDepartment of Corrections said on Thursday afternoon in a statement. Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones said that the department has zero tolerance for racism or prejudice of any kind.

The three men planned on killing him by injecting him in the neck with insulin, Bondi told reporters, adding, that they also had a firearm preparedin case that plan didnt work.

According to a partially redacted affidavit released to reporters on Thursday, an unnamedsource working with federal investigatorstold a Jacksonville-based FBI agent about the alleged plot. The unidentified source attended a Klanchapter meeting with Newcomb, Moran, and Driver, where the three detailed a physical altercation between Driver and the inmate, and said that they wanted the now-released individual six feet under.

Rayidentified all three defendants as members of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The group is a well-known Klan-affiliated branch, Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok said in an interview. The group hastwo known chapters in Missouri, where it is based, and in Alabama. In all, Potok estimates that this particular branch of the Klan has 100 or fewer members, despite the groups claims in a recent leafleting campaign that its membership is much larger. Potok noted that in recent years, an increasing number of Klan chapters have opted to go off-the-grid.

Newcomb identified himself asanExalted Cyclops of the Klan to the FBIs source, according to the affidavit. The title usually refers to a person who leadsa particular chapter (called a Klavern) of the Klan. Both Driver and Moran identified themselves to the source as members of that chapter.

The affidavit contains a partial transcript of one alleged conversation between Newcomb, the FBI source, and Moran, as they conducted surveillance on the former inmates residence. In it, the three discuss one version of the alleged plot, which involved abducting the former inmate, taking him to a remote location, and injecting him with insulin:

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Three KKK members who worked in a Florida prison accused of plot to kill inmate

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UNION COUNTY, Fla. –

A crime story filled with racism, corruption and undercover success has three Union County men under lock and key following a four-month investigation by local, state and federal agents.

All three men worked for the Department of Corrections Lake Butler facility where investigators believe that Thomas Jordan Driver, with co-worker David Moran, and with former guard in-training Charles Newcomb conspired to get revenge on an inmate by killing him.

The state has not named the target of the murder plot but they do identify all three men as known members of a specific group in the Ku Klux Klan.

Federal agents apparently infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in order to uncover and stop the plot before the three men could complete their deadly scheme with the final nail in the coffin being a staged murder scene that was supposed to be proof of the heinous crime.

A lot of times in these cases, we have people come in and say we really didn’t mean it. But when the FBI staged this crime scene and these photographs were shown to each of these men, they were happy about it. They shook the source’s hand. The source even went to the point of asking them, Is this what you wanted? They each said yeah. They were happy about it. They were literally happy about it, statewide prosecutor, Nick Cox, said.

Floridas Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke in direct and powerful terms concerning the joint effort to stop the murder plot.

I’ll tell you, we will not tolerate nor will we ever remain silent over the violence of hatred embedded in prejudice in this country, Bondi said.

Bondai and other experts tracking hate groups said that this case is shocking because three present or past corrections officers were involved, planning to kill the inmate when he was released, because he had fought with one of those officers. And disturbing because of their alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

To actually have three people involved with the correctional system plotting the murder of a former inmate who annoyed one of them, yes I think that’s fairly amazing, Mark Potok, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. It’s a very, very unusual case in this day and age. Historically of course, the prisons and Police Department, particularly in the Deep South, and that includes Florida, were filled with Klansmen. But that hasn’t been true for many years. It’s very unusual to come across these cases.

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Suspicion surrounds Mississippi hanging, though suicide is suspected

They found the black man’s body hanging by a bedsheet from a locust tree.

Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas called in everybody he could think of. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. The FBI. By late Friday, a day after the disturbing discovery, they had identified the man as Otis Byrd, a 54-year-old riverboat worker who had been missing for more than two weeks.

What they didn’t have was the answer to the question on almost everyone’s mind: Was it a lynching?

At a time when violence against African Americans some of it at the hands of the police has become one of the nation’s most incendiary points of civic friction, a report of a black man dangling from a tree deep in the woods of rural Mississippi was bound to attract attention.

As television crews trickled into town, local residents appeared on the sidewalks of this small rural town, home to fewer than 1,500 people, carrying signs now familiar in cities across the U.S.: “Black Lives Matter.”

“Somebody did something to him,” said Stephanie Atlas, 47, a home health aide.

Officials said Friday they had not yet determined how Boyd had died, though a federal law enforcement official said investigators were leaning toward suicide as an explanation.

FBI, state and local officials said they had 30 investigators working on the case.

The image of the body in the woods contrasted with a town of moss-draped greenery and ornate antebellum facades. Many of the building fronts survived the Civil War because Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had proclaimed the city “too beautiful to burn” words on the sign on the entrance to town, beyond which roads cut their way through primeval forest.

Claiborne County has the third-highest percentage of African American residents of any U.S. county, an 84% majority of the population.

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Potok Identifies Mesa Shooting Spree Suspect As Neo-Nazi – Video



Potok Identifies Mesa Shooting Spree Suspect As Neo-Nazi
Source: http://www.cnn.com/videos/ March 18, 2015 – Erin Burnett speaks with Mark Potok about the Mesa shooting spree suspect police say match the description of a known white supremacist….

By: PigMine 2

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No sign Arizona shooting rampage related to white supremacy, police say

The tattoos that once adorned RyanGiroux’s face signify ties to racist hate groups, though law enforcement officials in Arizona don’t believethe shooting rampage the 41-year-old allegedlywent on was racially motivated.

Giroux, who police say killed one person and wounded five others, made a brief appearance in a MaricopaCounty, Ariz., court Thursday morning to face several charges including first-degree murder to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the shootings that sent a chill through the Phoenix area on Wednesday. His bail has been set at $2 million.

The “88” that was tattooedon the left side of Giroux’s face in an old, undated Arizona Department of Corrections booking photois neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler” because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is an Alabama-based civil rights organization thattracks hate groups.

A tattoo on Giroux’s chin from the old corrections photo is of”Thor’s Hammer,” a symbol for Odinism, which Potok saidis a theology embraced by white supremacist groups.

In a new booking photo of Giroux released on Wednesday, both the “88” and the tattoos on his eyebrows and chin were no longer visible and seemed to have been removed.

“These were visible and clearly inciting tattoos,” Potoksaid. “He was or still isdefinitelyaffiliatedin some form or another.”

On Wednesday, Mesa, Ariz., police spokesman Det. Steve Berry said investigators had “nothing to indicate [Wednesday’s rampage] has anything to do with white supremacy at all.”

Giroux’s criminalrecord includesconvictionsfor assault in Arizona and Los Angeles County, court records show. He has landed in state prison three times since 1994.

The shooting rampagebegan at a motel in Mesa, outside Phoenix, on Wednesday morning. One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and two women were wounded but are expected to survive.

After leaving the motel, Giroux is believedto have continued firing, wounding a student sitting at a restaurant on the campus of the East Valley Institute of Technology across the street from the motel. Seconds later, the gunman carjacked a gray Honda and fled the area and shot two other people at a nearby apartment building.

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No sign Arizona shooting rampage related to white supremacy, police say

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Black man found hanging in Mississippi: Why this story haunts the nation

There is no more powerful image in the South than that of a black man’s body hanging from a tree. Though the practice of lynching reached its peak during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the idea continues to haunt, explaining in part why the case of Otis Byrd has captured the nations attention.

Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that early results from the autopsy were leading investigators to believe the death was a suicide, though a final determination wasnt expected until next week. It looks like that, said the official, who asked not to be identified, adding thats where they are headed — with a finding of suicide.

But regardless of the cause of death, a body found in such a way arouses strong emotions especially in rural Mississippi, with its history of racial strife and lynchings.

I’m 57 years old and that’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that. I’ve never heard of a lynching in Claiborne County,” said Sheriff Marvin Lucas, who along with state and federal officials, is investigating Byrd’s death.

In the South, we do have a history of whites lynching blacks. But this is 2015, Lucas said.

A lynching is any illegal effort by a mob, usually associated in the South with white supremacist groups enforcing Jim Crow laws and mores that separated the races and were designed to keep blacks in an inferior position.

Estimates vary, but the studies show that there were 4,742 lynchings between 1882 and 1968. Of those, about 3,400 were lynchings of blacks and 1,297 were of whites, mainly allies of civil rights efforts, according to Mark Potok, senior fellow of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group. Mississippi has had the most lynchings, with 581.

The manner of death usually, but not always, involved hanging. Civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964, including James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were shot to death for working for voting rights. Viola Liuzzo was shot to death by members of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama after the Selma march in 1965.

About seven months before Byrd’s death, the body of Lennon Lacy, a black 17-year-old, was found hanging from a swing set in North Carolina. That case was initially ruled a suicide but the FBI recently said it was looking into the death.

The body of Frederick Jermaine Carter, 26, was found in 2010 hanging from an oak tree in the predominantly white North Greenwood area of Leflore County, Miss. That death was ruled a suicide, though the family questioned the decision.

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Police: College shooting possible hate crime; victim was gay

EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press MARTHA WAGGONER, Associated Press DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Police say they are investigating the fatal shooting of a gay community college worker as a hate crime, while the man charged in the killing told a judge he had gotten rid of his former supervisor because he molested a relative. Kenneth Stancil made the unsolicited accusations Tuesday when he appeared before Judge Christopher Kelly in Daytona Beach. The judge warned Stancil he had the right to remain silent. A Wayne County sheriff’s office clerk says Stancil did not file anything about a relative being molested or any other complaint with the sheriff’s office or Goldsboro police. Stancil is accused of killing Ron Lane, the print shop director at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on Monday. Stancil was denied bond and appointed a public defender. update GOLDSBORO (AP) Police said Tuesday they were investigating the fatal shooting of a gay community college worker as a possible hate crime. The shooting victim, 44-year-old campus print shop director Ron Lane, was gunned down by former student Kenneth Morgan Stancil III on Monday morning, police said. Lane dismissed Stancil from the print shop’s work-study program in March because he had too many absences. Police have not released a motive in the shooting and said the men’s relationship was purely a supervisor-student one. Calls to Stancil’s home were not returned and family members declined comment to an Associated Press reporter.

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Police: North Carolina college shooting possible hate crime; victim was gay

By EMERY P. DALESIO and MARTHA WAGGONER GOLDSBORO, N.C. — The shooting victim, 44-year-old campus print shop director Ron Lane, was gunned down by former student Kenneth Morgan Stancil III on Monday morning, police said. Lane dismissed Stancil from the print shop’s work-study program in March because he had too many absences. Police have not released a motive in the shooting and said the men’s relationship was purely a supervisor-student one. Lane’s supervisor at the college said Lane was gay, but police refused to say why a hate crime was being investigated. “At this time, I’m not prepared to divulge that information,” Goldsboro police Sgt. Jeremy Sutton said at a news conference. An expert who tracks hate groups said Stancil’s facial tattoo with the number “88” was a clear indication of a neo-Nazi, who have been accused of attacking gays. However, police have not said whether Stancil held white supremacist beliefs. Police say the 20-year-old Stancil entered the Wayne Community College print shop where he used to work and fired once with a pistol-grip shotgun, killing Lane, his former supervisor, just as Lane was arriving for work. The shooting sparked a campus-wide lockdown as police stormed the building searching for Stancil, who immediately fled on a motorcycle. The manhunt lasted for nearly a day and ended with Stancil’s arrest on a Florida beach. “Mr. Stancil had a calculated plan,” Sutton said. After the shooting, police found the motorcycle abandoned in a median on Interstate 95 in Lumberton, North Carolina, about 80 miles south of Goldsboro, where the college is located.

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20 Years Later, Sabotage Of Amtrak's Sunset Limited Still A Mystery

On October 9, 1995, the Amtrak Sunset Limited passenger train derailed in the Arizona desert over 50 miles from Phoenix. Nearly 100 passengers were injured and one Amtrak employee was killed. Courtesy of FBI hide caption On October 9, 1995, the Amtrak Sunset Limited passenger train derailed in the Arizona desert over 50 miles from Phoenix. Nearly 100 passengers were injured and one Amtrak employee was killed. The mystery goes back 20 years. It was an ordinary, cross-country train trip back in 1995: Amtrak’s Sunset Limited passenger train, bound for Los Angeles from Miami. The train never reached its destination: it was sabotaged, and derailed in the Arizona desert. The investigation continues to this day: On Friday, at the FBI Field Office in Phoenix, assistant special agent in charge Mark Cwynar announced a $310,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those who derailed the Sunset Limited. “We want to send a message to those responsible to this senseless act of sabotage. And that message is simple,” Cwynar said. “We are very close, we are watching and we will bring you to justice.” Out In The Middle Of The Desert The story begins on the night of October 9th, 1995, sometime around 1:30 a.m. Passenger Neal Hallford was jolted awake by a horrific sound: The train’s brakes screaming up ahead.

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April 13, 2015   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Three KKK members who worked in a Florida prison accused of plot to kill inmate

Three current and former employeesof the Florida Department of Corrections who were also members of the Ku Klux Klan were arrested Thursday in an alleged conspiracy to kill a former inmate after his release from prison, the Florida attorney generals office said in a statement. The former inmate allegedly targeted by the three men is African American. The defendantsall conspired to kill an inmate after an altercationbetween the inmate and one of the three corrections employees some time before November of last year, Attorney General Pam Bondi told reporters on Thursday afternoon, adding, These men are alleged to be known members of the Ku Klux Klan.The target of the alleged plot has not been identified by authorities. Thomas Jordan Driver, 25, David Elliot Moran, 47, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 42, were charged with one state count each ofconspiracy to commit murder.Driver and Morgan worked at theDepartment of Corrections Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler at the time of their arrest,attorney general office spokesman Whitney Ray said. Newcomb is a former employee of the same facility, whichprocesses newly-committed male inmates into the state system and provides medical care for inmates across the state. The two correctional officerswho were working for the department at the time of their arrest have beendismissed, theDepartment of Corrections said on Thursday afternoon in a statement. Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones said that the department has zero tolerance for racism or prejudice of any kind. The three men planned on killing him by injecting him in the neck with insulin, Bondi told reporters, adding, that they also had a firearm preparedin case that plan didnt work. According to a partially redacted affidavit released to reporters on Thursday, an unnamedsource working with federal investigatorstold a Jacksonville-based FBI agent about the alleged plot. The unidentified source attended a Klanchapter meeting with Newcomb, Moran, and Driver, where the three detailed a physical altercation between Driver and the inmate, and said that they wanted the now-released individual six feet under. Rayidentified all three defendants as members of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The group is a well-known Klan-affiliated branch, Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok said in an interview. The group hastwo known chapters in Missouri, where it is based, and in Alabama. In all, Potok estimates that this particular branch of the Klan has 100 or fewer members, despite the groups claims in a recent leafleting campaign that its membership is much larger. Potok noted that in recent years, an increasing number of Klan chapters have opted to go off-the-grid. Newcomb identified himself asanExalted Cyclops of the Klan to the FBIs source, according to the affidavit. The title usually refers to a person who leadsa particular chapter (called a Klavern) of the Klan. Both Driver and Moran identified themselves to the source as members of that chapter. The affidavit contains a partial transcript of one alleged conversation between Newcomb, the FBI source, and Moran, as they conducted surveillance on the former inmates residence. In it, the three discuss one version of the alleged plot, which involved abducting the former inmate, taking him to a remote location, and injecting him with insulin:

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UNION COUNTY, Fla. – A crime story filled with racism, corruption and undercover success has three Union County men under lock and key following a four-month investigation by local, state and federal agents. All three men worked for the Department of Corrections Lake Butler facility where investigators believe that Thomas Jordan Driver, with co-worker David Moran, and with former guard in-training Charles Newcomb conspired to get revenge on an inmate by killing him. The state has not named the target of the murder plot but they do identify all three men as known members of a specific group in the Ku Klux Klan. Federal agents apparently infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in order to uncover and stop the plot before the three men could complete their deadly scheme with the final nail in the coffin being a staged murder scene that was supposed to be proof of the heinous crime. A lot of times in these cases, we have people come in and say we really didn’t mean it. But when the FBI staged this crime scene and these photographs were shown to each of these men, they were happy about it. They shook the source’s hand. The source even went to the point of asking them, Is this what you wanted? They each said yeah. They were happy about it. They were literally happy about it, statewide prosecutor, Nick Cox, said. Floridas Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke in direct and powerful terms concerning the joint effort to stop the murder plot. I’ll tell you, we will not tolerate nor will we ever remain silent over the violence of hatred embedded in prejudice in this country, Bondi said. Bondai and other experts tracking hate groups said that this case is shocking because three present or past corrections officers were involved, planning to kill the inmate when he was released, because he had fought with one of those officers. And disturbing because of their alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan. To actually have three people involved with the correctional system plotting the murder of a former inmate who annoyed one of them, yes I think that’s fairly amazing, Mark Potok, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. It’s a very, very unusual case in this day and age. Historically of course, the prisons and Police Department, particularly in the Deep South, and that includes Florida, were filled with Klansmen. But that hasn’t been true for many years. It’s very unusual to come across these cases.

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Suspicion surrounds Mississippi hanging, though suicide is suspected

They found the black man’s body hanging by a bedsheet from a locust tree. Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas called in everybody he could think of. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. The FBI. By late Friday, a day after the disturbing discovery, they had identified the man as Otis Byrd, a 54-year-old riverboat worker who had been missing for more than two weeks. What they didn’t have was the answer to the question on almost everyone’s mind: Was it a lynching? At a time when violence against African Americans some of it at the hands of the police has become one of the nation’s most incendiary points of civic friction, a report of a black man dangling from a tree deep in the woods of rural Mississippi was bound to attract attention. As television crews trickled into town, local residents appeared on the sidewalks of this small rural town, home to fewer than 1,500 people, carrying signs now familiar in cities across the U.S.: “Black Lives Matter.” “Somebody did something to him,” said Stephanie Atlas, 47, a home health aide. Officials said Friday they had not yet determined how Boyd had died, though a federal law enforcement official said investigators were leaning toward suicide as an explanation. FBI, state and local officials said they had 30 investigators working on the case. The image of the body in the woods contrasted with a town of moss-draped greenery and ornate antebellum facades. Many of the building fronts survived the Civil War because Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had proclaimed the city “too beautiful to burn” words on the sign on the entrance to town, beyond which roads cut their way through primeval forest. Claiborne County has the third-highest percentage of African American residents of any U.S. county, an 84% majority of the population.

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Potok Identifies Mesa Shooting Spree Suspect As Neo-Nazi – Video




Potok Identifies Mesa Shooting Spree Suspect As Neo-Nazi Source: http://www.cnn.com/videos/ March 18, 2015 – Erin Burnett speaks with Mark Potok about the Mesa shooting spree suspect police say match the description of a known white supremacist…. By: PigMine 2

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No sign Arizona shooting rampage related to white supremacy, police say

The tattoos that once adorned RyanGiroux’s face signify ties to racist hate groups, though law enforcement officials in Arizona don’t believethe shooting rampage the 41-year-old allegedlywent on was racially motivated. Giroux, who police say killed one person and wounded five others, made a brief appearance in a MaricopaCounty, Ariz., court Thursday morning to face several charges including first-degree murder to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the shootings that sent a chill through the Phoenix area on Wednesday. His bail has been set at $2 million. The “88” that was tattooedon the left side of Giroux’s face in an old, undated Arizona Department of Corrections booking photois neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler” because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is an Alabama-based civil rights organization thattracks hate groups. A tattoo on Giroux’s chin from the old corrections photo is of”Thor’s Hammer,” a symbol for Odinism, which Potok saidis a theology embraced by white supremacist groups. In a new booking photo of Giroux released on Wednesday, both the “88” and the tattoos on his eyebrows and chin were no longer visible and seemed to have been removed. “These were visible and clearly inciting tattoos,” Potoksaid. “He was or still isdefinitelyaffiliatedin some form or another.” On Wednesday, Mesa, Ariz., police spokesman Det. Steve Berry said investigators had “nothing to indicate [Wednesday’s rampage] has anything to do with white supremacy at all.” Giroux’s criminalrecord includesconvictionsfor assault in Arizona and Los Angeles County, court records show. He has landed in state prison three times since 1994. The shooting rampagebegan at a motel in Mesa, outside Phoenix, on Wednesday morning. One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and two women were wounded but are expected to survive. After leaving the motel, Giroux is believedto have continued firing, wounding a student sitting at a restaurant on the campus of the East Valley Institute of Technology across the street from the motel. Seconds later, the gunman carjacked a gray Honda and fled the area and shot two other people at a nearby apartment building.

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March 21, 2015   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Black man found hanging in Mississippi: Why this story haunts the nation

There is no more powerful image in the South than that of a black man’s body hanging from a tree. Though the practice of lynching reached its peak during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the idea continues to haunt, explaining in part why the case of Otis Byrd has captured the nations attention. Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that early results from the autopsy were leading investigators to believe the death was a suicide, though a final determination wasnt expected until next week. It looks like that, said the official, who asked not to be identified, adding thats where they are headed — with a finding of suicide. But regardless of the cause of death, a body found in such a way arouses strong emotions especially in rural Mississippi, with its history of racial strife and lynchings. I’m 57 years old and that’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that. I’ve never heard of a lynching in Claiborne County,” said Sheriff Marvin Lucas, who along with state and federal officials, is investigating Byrd’s death. In the South, we do have a history of whites lynching blacks. But this is 2015, Lucas said. A lynching is any illegal effort by a mob, usually associated in the South with white supremacist groups enforcing Jim Crow laws and mores that separated the races and were designed to keep blacks in an inferior position. Estimates vary, but the studies show that there were 4,742 lynchings between 1882 and 1968. Of those, about 3,400 were lynchings of blacks and 1,297 were of whites, mainly allies of civil rights efforts, according to Mark Potok, senior fellow of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group. Mississippi has had the most lynchings, with 581. The manner of death usually, but not always, involved hanging. Civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964, including James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were shot to death for working for voting rights. Viola Liuzzo was shot to death by members of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama after the Selma march in 1965. About seven months before Byrd’s death, the body of Lennon Lacy, a black 17-year-old, was found hanging from a swing set in North Carolina. That case was initially ruled a suicide but the FBI recently said it was looking into the death. The body of Frederick Jermaine Carter, 26, was found in 2010 hanging from an oak tree in the predominantly white North Greenwood area of Leflore County, Miss. That death was ruled a suicide, though the family questioned the decision.

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March 21, 2015   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed


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