Indictments Unsealed in Racist Skinhead Attacks
DALLAS (AP) _ A federal grand jury indicted five men linked to racist skinhead groups in connection with vandalism at a Jewish temple and attacks on blacks and Hispanics, authorities said today.
″This is our first major frontal assault against skinhead terrorist activities,″ said Michael Gillett, Dallas County assistant district attorney.
James P. Turner, an acting assistant attorney general heading the Justice Department’s civil rights division, announced today that a grand jury in Dallas handed up the indictment Thursday.
The charges against five associates of the Dallas-based Confederate Hammerskins stem from attacks in the summer and fall of 1988. Two of the defendants are still being sought by federal authorities.
Federal authorities believe the Hammerskins are a faction of the skinhead groups that have been identified in racist attacks in several metropolitan areas around the country.
The skinhead subculture emerged in London in the 1960s. Segments of the movement took on Nazi overtones in 1985 and since have been supported by and associated with the white supremacist Aryan Youth Movement and White Aryan Resistance.
″President Bush and Attorney General (Dick) Thornburgh have made it clear that prosecutions of this type rank right up there with the war on drugs,″ Turner said.
He said the three-count indictment names Sean Christian Tarrant, Jon Lance Jordan, Michael Lewis Lawrence, Christopher Barry Greer and Daniel Alvis Wood.
Wood, who was arrested in the vandalism on Temple Shalom and the Jewish Community Center in Dallas, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a state judge after admitting he sprayed swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans at the center. He also was fined $5,000.
Tarrant and Greer also are in custody.
Barry Kowalski, an attorney with the civil rights division, said Jordan and Lawrence remained at large.
He said at least some of the defendants were from the Dallas area but declined to give hometowns or ages of the others.
The indictment alleged two separate but related conspiracies to commit acts of violence, including the vandalism at the Jewish temple and community center in October 1988, and violence against blacks and Hispanics at Robert E. Lee Park in August 1988.
If convicted, all five face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine in the two conspiracies, and Lawrence, Jordan and Wood each face an additional count of using a firearm in a violent crime.
Kowalski said the park attacks occurred because the skinhead group believed Robert E. Lee Park was a symbol of white supremacy that should not have been frequented by non-whites. He said the defendants attacked blacks and Hispanics and tried to chase them out of the park.