NEW YORK (Oct. 3)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith says it is “extremely gratified” by a federal grand jury’s indictment of 16 men tied to a neo-Nazi Skinhead gang in Dallas.
The men, identified as associates of the Confederate Hammerskins, are charged with defacing a synagogue, Jewish center and a mosque in Dallas, and attacking blacks and Hispanics during the summer and fall of 1988.
Last week, U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General James Turner and Marvin Collins, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, returned three-count indictments against five associates of the Hammerskins: Sean Christian Tarrant, Jon Lance Jordan, Michael Lewis Lawrence, Christopher Barry Greer and Daniel Alvis Wood.
In July, five adults and six juveniles, also associates of the Hammerskins, were indicted.
The indictments followed an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and Dallas Police Department.
The charges, which include conspiracy and the use of firearms, carry maximum jail sentences of 10 years and fines up to $250,000.
Attorney General Dick Thornburgh pledged in a prepared statement that the Justice Department would make a priority of “tracking down and prosecuting those who commit violent acts motivated by racial or religious hatred.”
SYNAGOGUE REPEATEDLY HIT
The ADL estimates there are 40 to 45 members of the Hammerskins, with another 60 some-how involved with the gang. Although the Hammerskins have cut a swath of violent activities in various places, “the majority of the Skinhead attacks in Dallas have been anti-Jewish,” said Michael Briskman, ADL regional director in Dallas.
One synagogue, Temple Shalom, has borne the brunt of the attacks. The Reform synagogue, first attacked in November 1987, “was the target of the very first vandalism and graffiti of a highly anti-Semitic nature,” Briskman recalled.
Temple Shalom was vandalized eight to 10 times in less than two years. Only two weeks after the Thanksgiving weekend attack, two Skinheads disrupted Friday night services inside the house of worship and then fled.
In January and April 1988, Jewish businesses were vandalized and defaced with graffiti.
The Hammerskins used firearms and baseball bats in three nighttime attacks Oct. 8, 1988, on Temple Shalom, the Jewish Community Center of Dallas and the mosque of the Islamic Association of North Texas, in Richardson, a Dallas suburb.
In the Jewish places they scrawled “Hitler Was Right” and “Get Out Jew Pig.” On the mosque, they painted “Yahweh Our White God.”
Of the five indicted last week, Wood and Tarrant, the Hammerskins leader, served jail time on other charges.
Wood, a 20-year-old who sports a Hitler-like mustache, pleaded guilty in July to fleeing to avoid testifying about damaging and destroying property with an explosive device.
At his sentencing, he asked for leniency, but “when the judge sentenced him to the maximum, he gave the Heil Hitler salute,” said Briskman.