SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 28)
The indictment last week of six neo-Nazi Skinheads in Tulsa, Okla., has been welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, which concluded a three-day meeting of its national executive committee here Saturday.
The indictments, served for intimidation of minorities, were announced by U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Dunne, who addressed ADL’s Civil Rights Committee at a luncheon here last Thursday.
Dunne, who heads the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, spoke about the growth of the Skinhead movement in America.
He enumerated a spate of violent crimes committed by Skinheads, who are active in at least 100 American cities. There are now 200 white supremacist groups in existence throughout the United States, he said.
In a statement, ADL National Chairman Melvin Salberg said the latest indictments reaffirm continues to vigorously prosecute the perpetrators of hate crimes. This consistent and aggressive prosecution is the most effective way to curb their propensity for violence. We hope these indictments will contribute to the demise of the racist Skinhead phenomenon.”
As an example of the proliferation of hate-group activities, Dunne cited a rise of 75 percent in hate crimes in Los Angeles last year, the highest level in 10 years.
“Today we have a new public enemy No. 1: that growing mob who commit crimes of hatred, tearing deep holes in the fabric that binds our society together,” he said.
He spoke of the Justice Department’s success winning a conviction or guilty plea in every hate crime it has prosecuted so far this year and told the ADL delegates he appreciated “the activities of groups such as yours.”
ADL leaders met last year with Attorney General Dick Thornburgh to discuss the activities of hate groups, particularly Skinheads. They urged him to establish within the Justice Department a Skinhead Task Force to deal with the problem of the violent youths, who espouse a neo-Nazi credo and sometimes don Nazi garb.
ADL cautions, however, that not all Skinheads are racists. Some youths who have adopted the shaved-head look and admire punk rock are in fact anti-racist.
Last week, a jury in Portland, Ore., awarded $12.5 million to the family of an Ethiopian man killed there two years ago by Skinheads at the instigation of white supremacist leaders living in southern California.
ADL joined the Southern Poverty Law Center in representing the plaintiff in a civil case against Tom Metzger, head of the White Aryan Resistance, and his son, John, who heads the Aryan Youth Movement. Two Skinheads were also fined in the wrongful death case.
ADL is hoping the award, the largest of its kind ever against a hate group, will bankrupt the white supremacist network.