June 11th, 2009
05:50 PM ET

Map: Active hate groups in the U.S.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/10/map.hate.groups.jpg caption="Active Hate Groups in the United States"]

Program Note: The map shows different hate groups that are active across the country. It is part of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Tune in to AC360° at 10 P.M. ET for more details on hate groups.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Intelligence Project monitors hate groups and extremist activities throughout the U.S. and publishes the Center's award-winning Intelligence Report.

It also offers training to help law enforcement officials and human rights groups combat organized racism, including an online hate crime training course for law enforcement professionals.

Click here for more details...

June 11th, 2009
04:44 PM ET

Confessions of a former Neo-Nazi skinhead

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/06/11/hate.groups/art.museum.door.gi.jpg caption="An FBI investigator looks over gunshot holes in the door of the U.S. Holocaust Museum on Thursday."]

Program Note: Author and former Neo-Nazi skinhead TJ Leyden will join Anderson tonight to discuss the views and innerworkings of this country's hate groups and shed light on yesterday's fatal shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Below is the preface to Leyden's book entitled, "Skinhead Confessions." Tune in to AC360° tonight at 10p ET.

TJ Leyden
Author, "Skinhead Confessions"

I heard the gasp of horror and knew I’d been caught. For several years I had hidden the depth of my involvement in the Skinheads from my parents, covering up my tattoos with long shirts, concealing my violent life through lies and deceit. Until now, my own mother hadn’t known how far I was entrenched in the world of hate.

“What are those?” she cried, pointing at my body, which was covered from my neck to the middle of my back in graphic, sinister tattoos. “Tell me or I will call the police!”

No way in hell I was going to tell her what they meant—the hate crimes I had committed, the people I’d hurt, stabbed, and maimed to earn those tattoos. No way would I tell her about the hundreds of kids I’d initiated to follow me into the White Power Movement and the things they did for me every day.

She picked up the phone, her eyes locked on mine. They connected her to the gang unit of the Redlands Police Department. She questioned the officer about what she had seen, and her eyes grew bigger in disbelief. I showed no emotion, even as he told her that the person she was talking about must be a fully indoctrinated and active Skinhead. Then . . . the inevitable question. Did she personally know the dangerous person with the tattoos?


Filed under: 360° Radar • Hate Crime
May 4th, 2009
11:04 PM ET

Rage and death in Shenandoah

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the case from Soledad O'Brien on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/04/art.hate.crime.pa2.jpg caption="A police car outside an entrance to the courthouse on the first day of the trial."]

Brian Rokus
Producer, CNN Presents

For nine months, the community of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania waited to learn the fate of three high school football players. A late-night street fight last July had left illegal Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez dead and these teenagers facing a range of charges, including murder. During those months, vigils were held, protesters against illegal immigration came to town, and protesters for immigration reform came to town. The case’s August preliminary hearing was briefly delayed when demonstrators drowned out the proceedings inside the court. Finally, a trial date of April 27 was set.

But there would be one more development before a jury would hear the case. Just weeks before trial, one of the teammates, Colin Walsh, took a federal plea deal and agreed to testify against his friends in court. Now there would be only two defendants – Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak. Piekarsky faced third-degree murder while both faced assault and ethnic intimidation charges.

After a summer of protests and tension, police had prepared for large groups of protesters, going so far as to enforce a quarter-mile protest exclusion zone around the court house. Local TV stations reported that Sheriff's deputies' vacations had been restricted for the trial and that all attendees would have to pass through two metal detectors to get into the courtroom.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Hate Crime • Race in America
March 3rd, 2009
06:24 PM ET

A question of motive

Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”

Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

The verdict is in against Joseph Bearden. He was convicted of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Ryan Skipper. Lots of folks — good people with good intentions — want us to understand Ryan’s murder as a hate crime. But our job as lawyers is to look at all the facts, not just the ones that suit our personal political persuasions.

Yes, Ryan Skipper was gay; but his murder, like it or not, was about something else: Drugs. Specifically, it was about methamphetamine. But for meth, this murder wouldn’t have happened.

Methamphetamine manufacture and use is reaching epidemic proportions in this country. We don’t talk about it enough. In Bearden’s case alone, nearly every percipient witness was a dealer, user or both. To suggest that meth was not the motivating factor here is a disservice to the truth and, therefore, to Ryan’s memory.

That brings me to the trickier question of hate crime. Of course, it is always easier for friends and family to believe a victim was unknown to his killer–that he was not consorting with the likes of “Bill Bill” Brown and Joseph “Smiley” Bearden.

Anyone who works in criminal justice knows, however, that strangers rarely murder strangers. In this case, there is evidence that Ryan knew Bill Brown and knew him well, perhaps even intimately. Bill Brown and his associates clearly had issues with homosexuality, but Bill’s issues may have also been with his own sexuality, which makes the question of motive a lot more complicated than it appears at first blush. Social justice and criminal justice are not always the same.

Filed under: Hate Crime • Jami Floyd
November 13th, 2008
02:14 PM ET

Hate crime

Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on In Session”

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Marcello Lucero was walking to a friend’s house last weekend to watch a movie when his life came to a brutal end. The Ecuadorean native was allegedly beaten and stabbed by a group of teenagers who police said wanted “to beat up some Mexicans.”

Lucero’s death Saturday night on Long Island, New York was quickly labeled a hate crime by authorities. Unfortunately, it’s part of an underreported spike of hate crimes against Hispanics in the last few years. According to the FBI, Anti-Hispanic hate crimes have increased 40 percent since 2003.

Hispanic advocates blame a climate of harsh rhetoric surrounding the national immigration debate, and they surely have a point.

The Justice Department says that out of all bias crimes based on ethnicity, 62 percent target Hispanics, 38 percent everyone else. 62 percent! Though Hispanics are only 14 percent of the population. Those are some scary numbers.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Hate Crime • Lisa Bloom
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