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October 31

In 1996 on this date in the U.S. District Court in Asheville, North Carolina, four members of a family, Leonard Haynes, Martin King, Alfred Smith, and Eugene Smith, all of the Waynesville, North Carolina area, had their three-count each indictment opened accusing them of burning two crosses on the lawn of a home occupied by a racially-mixed couple, Gordon Cullins and Hazel Annette Sutton, in the rural Waynesville/Clyde, North Carolina area, on December 31, 1995.

On this Halloween night in 1999 in Iverness, Florida, Allison Decratel, 17, was killed when a teenager allegedly drove into a group of young people some of whom were dressed in drag after shouting anti-gay epithets at them. A second victim was injured. Richard Burzynski Jr., 17, the driver of the vehicle, was later apprehended and charged with first-degree murder.

In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on this date in 2003, white supremacist, Christian Identity follower, neo-Nazi, and Hayden City Council candidate, Zachary Loren Beck, 24 (DOB: February 14, 1979), of Hayden, Idaho, punched a Hispanic man, John A. Albright, 20, of Hayden, in the face in a grocery store parking lot after Beck—who was wearing a black jacket with an Aryan Nations insignia on it—asked Mr. Albright if he was "Mexican." Zach Beck—who was born in Marin, California and lived in Tucson, Arizona, and in California during his childhood—was charged with felony malicious harassment (a hate crime). He was convicted of this crime, and his criminal career would become extensive. Beck was convicted of first-degree burglary and third-degree assault in Cowlitz County, Washington in 2005. He was convicted of crimes in California, Idaho and Arizona, which included, fraud, disorderly conduct, shooting at a police officer, domestic violence for assaulting and threatening to kill a girlfriend, felony possession of marijuana, felony possession of cocaine, and driving under the influence. At one point Zach L. Beck had lived with Aryan Nations/Church of Jesus Christ—Christian founder Richard Butler in Hayden Lake, Idaho. In a Coeur d'Alene newspaper article published on January 16, 2011, Zach Beck, 31, publicly renounced his neo-Nazi, Christian Identity, and white supremacist ideologies and wrote: "I want to formally apologize for the image of hate that I helped bring upon this decent community," and "The foundation of racism is fear." But did he really renounce his hateful ideology? On September 2, 2011, Zachary Beck was sentenced for his role in a racially motivated hate crime. See our January 7 calendar page for more information about Zachary Beck.

In Long Beach, California, on this date in 2006, a large mob of as many as 30 to 40 African-American youths, ranging in age from 13 to 18 years, attacked and severely assaulted three young white females while shouting racial slurs at them near Bixby Road and Linden Avenue. Initially, eight were found guilty of a hate crime that involved their beating three white girls, who have sustained lasting physical and emotional injuries. An African-American man, who had witnessed the attack, intervened and stopped the assault from continuing. A ninth youth was also later found guilty in the attack—which left one victim with permanent peripheral vision loss and permanent sinus damage and another victim required facial reconstructive surgery—while a tenth alleged perpetrator had charges dropped. Eight of the nine found guilty were girls.

In 2007 on this date in the Howard Beach section of Brooklyn, New York, a location not unfamiliar with race-based hate crimes, three blacks, one Latino and one black-Latino were arrested for allegedly chasing a group of white teenagers into a McDonald's restaurant on Cross Bay Boulevard where Shawn Carmotta and Joseph Friedman were then assaulted. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the case is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Arrested were Patrick Pugh, 18, of 542 King Street in Brooklyn, Terrance Scott, 18, and Talique Jackson, 16, both of 523 Milford Street in Brooklyn, George Morales, 25, of 290 Lincoln Avenue, and Victor Tossas, 16, of 700 Euclid Avenue in Brooklyn. They were charged with assault, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, and if convicted, they could get up to seven years in prison.

In the early morning hours in Boulder, Colorado, on this date in 2008, an Asian-American man, who was walking with friends near Marine and Tenth streets, was confronted by a group of four men, one of whom allegedly used a racist slur directed at the Asian-American man before punching his victim repeatedly in the face and ordering his victim to say, "I love America." Police are looking for the white perpetrator who is said to be about 5' 10" in height and about 19-20 years old with blonde hair.

On this date in 2008 in Marana, Arizona (Pima County), a Jewish couple, Myles and Karen Levine, had their home vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti (swastikas and slurs including "Jew whore" and "die Juden bitch"), and the perpetrator(s) also left several dead animals (including a rodent, a coyote, and several woodpeckers) outside the Levine's home. As a result of the attack, the victims moved to a gated community near the Omni National Golf Course. Then, ten months later on August 2, 2009, the Levine's—who were living on West Magee Road in Tuscon, Arizona at the time—had their home attacked with two detonated chemical weapons made with chlorine which created a large cloud of gas, caused the evacuation of a number of families in nearby homes, and led to the hospitalization of at least two people. A Pima County Sheriff's deputy said that the attack—which also included several small dead animals (the carcasses of a woodpecker, a rabbit and a cat) left on the doorstep of the victims' house and vulgar spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on their home—might have been a hate crime. On May 13, 2011, a white man, Todd Russell Fries, 48, (AKA Todd Burns), of Tuscon, was arrested by the FBI at his home on West El Camino del Cerro after a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against him on that same date for allegedly perpetrating the chlorine gas attack on the Levines in August, 2009 (indictment). Fries, who was also said to be responsible for the 2008 attack against the Levines, left a Mexican man’s identification at the scene of the 2009 attack, and then later called the FBI pretending to be a Mexican woman to turn in the owner of the identification.  Law enforcement agents found The Anarchist Cookbook and other how-to books on getting revenge at Fries’ home when he was arrested. One book he owned had a recipe for an explosive similar to one that was found.  Law enforcement agents also found 37 weapons at Fries' home along with rifles, handguns, $40,000 in cash, and explosive materials—50 to 80 times the legal amount.  Fries, who is the owner of Burns Power Washing and who law enforcement investigators believed might have been responsible for similar crimes against other people in Tuscon, could have been sentenced to up to life in prison and/or fined up to $250,000 per offense his two charges of felony Prohibition Against Chemical Weapons. He was also charged with lying to the FBI, and a conviction for making false statements to a federal agency carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.  Todd R. Fries—who was not charged with committing a hate crime as authorities said the motivation was revenge over a $200 business dispute—was convicted at trial in Tuscon on October 5, 2012, at the age of 49 of unlawful possession and use of a chemical weapon and providing false information to the FBI. The jury deliberated for just ten minutes before convicting Fries who was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison on March 1, 2013.  The two victims said at Fries' sentencing that due to the attacks against them, they both suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is unknown how the animals in both attacks died. These two attacks serve as examples of crimes that were in part motivated by bias (in this case anti-Jewish bias given the spray-painted slurs left at both crime scenes), but where hate crime charges were never pursued by prosecutors.

In an alley behind his home in San Diego, California on this date in 2010, a gay white man, Jacob Harshbarger, 32, of San Diego's North Park neighborhood was brutally assaulted by members of a group of three men and two women some of whom shouted anti-gay slurs at him. Mr. Harshbarger was beaten and kicked, including being kicked in the face, and he was also thrown against a wall. He suffered multiple injuries including a concussion, cut lips that required 13 stitches, a black eye and other injuries. Shockingly, San Diego Police Officer J. Hebdon, who responded to the scene of the attack, said she is not sure if the attack will be classified as a hate crime stating that the victim might have been "in the wrong place at the wrong time." It is unknown what happened, if anything, to Mr. Harshbarger's two dogs he was walking at the time of the attack on him. Arrested and charged with felony battery, and battery likely to cause great bodily harm were Michael Brandon, 23, and Christopher Blount, 23. Prosecutors did not file hate crime charges against either Brandon or Blount.

Also in San Diego, California on this date in 2010, a heterosexual man, Daniel Crawford, dressed as the flamboyant gay rock star icon, Freddie Mercury, and a heterosexual male friend he was with, Martin Niwinski, were attacked in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store in the South Park area, and both men had anti-gay slurs hurled at them during the attack. Disturbingly, and despite the obvious anti-gay element to the attack, the San Diego police investigators said they do not believe the attack was a hate crime because the victims are not gay.

A black doll covered with racial slurs was found hanging from a noose in front of a black church in Laurel, Maryland on this date in 2010. The incident occurred at the City of Zion Church on Laurel Park Drive, near the Laurel Regional Hospital. In addition to the racial slurs, the doll was also covered with a swastika and racist statements targeting President Barack Obama, African-Americans and Muslims. If you have any information about this hate crime, please call the Laurel Police Department at 301-498-0092 and ask for the Criminal Investigations Division.

In Bloomfield, New Jersey on this date in 2010, David J. McCulloch, 55, of Bloomfield allegedly brandished a knife toward a group of six people that included children and allegedly threatened them. McCulloch was arrested that same day and charged with harassment, disorderly conduct, simple assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, terroristic threats and bias intimidation (a hate crime). The Essex County Prosecutor's Office called the incident a hate crime, but released no other information. McCulloch was ordered held at the Essex County jail on $50,000 bail.

In Carmel, Indiana, on this date in 2010, the Indian owners of Heidi's Brooklyn Deli which was located at 1400 South Guilford Avenue, allegedly had their place of business set on fire, and had made attempts to have the arson look like a hate crime by allegedly having racist graffiti spray-painted at the scene. Taken into custody in New Jersey and arrested on January 16, 2011, were Gugu Kaur, 21, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and her father, Jasvir Singh Dosanjh, 47, also of Indianapolis, both of whom are said to have masterminded the arson-for-insurance-money fire. Nirmal Thakur, 39, of Indianapolis, a male acquaintance of the owners, was arrested at a Greenwood, Indiana, hotel in December 2010 for actually setting the fire. When police arrested Thakur, his hands and face were badly burned, and police allege that Kaur and Dosanjh would not allow Thakur—who had allegedly burned himself while setting the business on fire—to seek medical attention following the fire. According to the probable cause affidavit, the family had also owned an ice cream shop in Fresno, California that was also intentionally set on fire in 2005. Dosanjh and Kaur were taken into custody at Newark International Airport on Class B felony arson, Class B felony conspiracy to commit arson, Class C felony arson with intent to defraud, and conspiracy to commit arson with intent to defraud warrants. They are to be extradicted back to Indiana to face those charges. If convicted, they each face up to 56 years in prison. Thakur—who was held at the Hamilton County Jail on $70,000 bond following his arrest—faced a charge of Class B felony arson, and he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted as charged. This serves as a rare example of a faked hate crime, and a poorly thought-out one at that, because Indiana did not have a hate crime law at the time of the business fire.

Near Cherry Avenue and Fourth Street on this date in 2011 in Long Beach, California near the Gay and Lesbian Center of Greater Long Beach in front of several witnesses two gay men, Wade Cook, 53, and an unnamed man in his 60s, were attacked because of their sexual orientation allegedly by Marquise Anton Lucas, 19, and Sierus Lamar Dunbar, 27, both of Long Beach, who allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs at their victims and then allegedly pushed Mr. Cook onto the ground and stomped on the his hand in an attempt to grab his cellphone (Mr. Cook apparently had taken a photograph of the alleged perpetrators after the anti-gay slurs were hurled at him). He was also punched in the face and was rendered unconscious when he fell on the sidewalk as a result of the punch. In addition, the other victim was knocked onto the sidewalk. The two victims each sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Although Marquise Lucas and Sierus Dunbar, both of whom are black, were initially charged on November 2, 2011, in Long Beach Superior Court each with one count of battery with serious bodily injury (a felony) and one count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury (also a felony), on November 7, 2011, the charges were amended to include hate crime charges. In addition, Lucas also was charged with a second count of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and Dunbar was charged with a felony assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury. Marquise A. Lucas and Sierus L. Dunbar previously pleaded not guilty to their original charges, and at a preliminary hearing on November 17, 2011, it was ruled that there was enough evidence for the two to stand trial. On December 29, 2011, Lucas and Dunbar both pleaded not guilty in Long Beach Superior Court to all of their charges (although one news source said their arraignments were postposed until January 27, 2012). Their jury trial is scheduled for February 22, 2012.

In Milpitas, California on this date in 2011 it was discovered that someone spray-painted pentagrams, "666," "Satan Was Here," and vulgar words on the exterior walls and glass doors of the Mount Olive Lutheran Church. The local police department investigated the attack as a possible hate crime. If you have any information about this anti-Christian vandalism, please contact Detective Daren Vuong at 408-586-2400, or anonymously provide information by calling 408-586-2500, or via the Milpitas Police Department's website.

In Spokane, Washington on this date in 2011 a white woman, Sharyl Ann Curtis, 42, of Spokane, allegedly knocked on the door of a black man, Mr. Tyree Brown, wearing a sheet over her head that read "KKK," and then allegedly demanded candy while hurling racial slurs. She also is said to have done the same thing at the home of a neighbor of Mr. Brown's, Teravia McDonald. Curtis, who was also allegedly yelling racial slurs at people in the apartment complex on North Lacey Street, was arrested early November 1, 2011, and charged with four counts of malicious harassment (a hate crime) and assault on an officer (she allegedly threw a bloody rag at a police officer and tried to kick him). The police report indicates Curtis was drunk and was carrying a bottle of bleach that she attempted to spray on people to "make everyone white." Angry neighbors turned on Sharyl A. Curtis and assaulted her, breaking her nose. Curtis also alleged told officers "I will raise my son white power" when she was being treated at a local hospital, and she also allegedly used a racial slur while raising her right arm in the air at that time. Curtis pleaded not guilty to her charges on January 9, 2012; her trial is slated for April 2, 2012.

On this date in 2012 in the Washington County Criminal Court in Barre, Vermont, a white man with a violent criminal history—Danny Lawson, 52, of Berlin, Vermont—was convicted of reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct for shooting at a black woman, Heather Richardson, of Berlin, and her 12-year-old daughter, in December 2011 as Ms. Richardson was picking her daughter up at a Berlin bus stop. Lawson—who has two previous convictions for violent crimes and five misdemeanor convictions, including a 1991 simple assault conviction and a 1995 conviction for domestic assault and reckless endangerment—was not convicted of a hate crime. However, police believed the shooting was racially motivated because police said Lawson repeatedly used racial slurs when speaking about the two black victims to police after he was arrested. Police said Lawson told them he shot his rifle in the air because he felt he needed to protect his recently purchased car from people who he believed would steal the hubcaps. On the date of his conviction Danny Lawson was sentenced to nine months to two years in jail with six months to serve and the balance suspended.


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