A racist Stormfront hits Arroyo Grande

March 28, 2011


The Arroyo Grande woman whose house was the scene of a cross burning earlier this month has retained an attorney and wants to know why police officers investigating the crime asked her about her sexual history from the last ten years.

During interviews with the mother, whose name is being kept private, Arroyo Grande police said they needed a detailed accounting of where she and her daughter had lived and the mother’s sexual history.

“They know their department hasn’t handled it correctly,” the mother said, referring to the cross burning incident that took place just after midnight on March 18. “Someone is trying to downplay this.”

The mother’s allegations emerge as new evidence suggests that white supremacists or “skinheads” were seen in Arroyo Grande  hours before the incident.

Witnesses tell CalCoastNews that Arroyo Grande police dispersed a crowd at a local drinking establishment on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day.

Several patrons at the popular bar were angered and voiced their disapproval when a man donning a Stormfront sweatshirt, decorated with “White Pride” on the arms and “White Pride World Wide” on the back showed up with a friend. The mood, witnesses say, turned ugly with angry insults flying before the police walked in.

However, while police officers noted in their logs that they had checked out the Village bars, no mention was made of either the controversial sweatshirt or any racial insults. Though interior cameras recorded the events of the evening, the tapes have since been erased.

Later that night, at approximately 12:30 a.m., several vehicles pulled up to a home on Elm Street where an 11-foot cross that had been stolen from a church a few weeks before was nailed on a platform, placed upright and set on fire. A 19-year-old called 9-1-1 after she saw the flaming cross outside their home.

Police arrived and asked the mother if they could use her hose to put out the burning cross, which fell shortly before they arrived. The family heard officers and firefighters chatting and laughing about an earlier incident and said they were upset when police left without talking with them or collecting some of the evidence.

The mother called 9-1-1 for a second time Friday morning at about 8:30 a.m. to ask police to come back and pick up the shovel left by the suspects the night before. She was also worried that police were not taking the burning of a cross, a symbol of racism, seriously.

Police originally reported the incident as embers burning in an empty lot. On Friday morning, when the mother explained her daughter was black, police started referring to the burning of the cross as a possible hate crime.

“It wasn’t embers, it was a fallen 11-foot cross,” the mother said.

While some residents insist that there are no white power groups in Arroyo Grande, basic research on the Internet—including Facebook, MySpace, and Stormfront—suggests the skinhead movement enjoys many followers in this South County community.

Stormfront, for example, is an online forum for white power started by Alabama Ku Klux Klan boss and long-time white supremacist Don Black in 1995. Its mission is “to build a community of white activists working for the survival of our people., white nationalist,” according to the Stormfront website.

Reports of racist actions are not permitted on the site, a place to connect with “like minded people.” An Arroyo Grande man seeking other skinheads to interact with posted for help on the site.

“What has changed for me is the need to be a-c-t-i-v-e,” a man called Jim posted several years ago. “I’ve read Dr. Pierce’s Turner Diaries in the past, but, in reading it last week, I was shamed for my inaction and inspired to act.

“So, I am here looking to find kinsmen and kinswomen–my family–who may live in this area or this part of California. Specifically, I live in Arroyo Grande.”

“As far as my level of belief, I definitely espouse the passion and aggressiveness of a skinhead, but I do so without calling unnecessary attention to myself. My flight is clean and my hair is short, but not shaved.

“This allows me to move amongst the ‘muds’ (anyone who is not white) to potentially wreak havoc in their most vulnerable areas. For lack of a better word, you might consider me a StealthSkin.”

Charles, a fellow member of Stormfront responded telling Jim where to go in the Arroyo Grande village to socialize and even recommended a specific weekly summer event. He notes that Arroyo Grande is primarily white.

Jim responds that he runs into non-white, possible targets regularly at grocery stores and restaurants.

“Needless to say, as a propagandist for the cause, I have a target-rich environment, but, once this area goes, it’s the great white north for me”, Jim added.

Aside from national racist groups, Arroyo Grande also has a thriving skinhead population who support each other on MySpace and Facebook. Photos of some of their members, primarily Arroyo Grande High School graduates, are available online with captions such as a skin get together at my house along with` posts about their beliefs.

“Once upon a time in my life I was nothing more then a shameless heroin addicted junkie, yeah me,” said an Arroyo Grande man named Joshua on his MySpace page. “But I ended up going to prison and that gave me a chance to sober up and meet some really good people who happen to be skinheads.

“So passed on to me from then I learned that to respect others you must respect yourself first. So I shed the low self esteem I had and grew into this person.”

A $3,500 reward offered by the city of Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo County CrimeStoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the theft or burning of the cross has resulted in several leads police are currently investigating.

“You can’t make assumptions about this,” Arroyo Grande police chief Steve Annibali said.  “We are looking at organizations, group members and individuals.”



  1. Cindy says:

    This hasn’t happened to any other black or mixed race families in the area so I find it doubtful that this is about “arbitrarily” harassing a mixed race family. Why this “ONE” family and not others, there are certainly others in the area? I also notice that much is made to do, about the cross burning outside the daughters bedroom window but people fail to consider that the only place to accommodate this spectacle was in the vacant lot next door ( that so happens to face the daughters window). The cross would have been placed there regardless of which family member occupied that bedroom. It only makes sense that this family was targeted (if they were targeted) by someone who had a personal issue with them, therefor I don’t find the line of questioning by the police unreasonable, not if they want to discover who was responsible for committing this reprehensible act.
    I seriously doubt that the mother and her attorney are going to get any of our tax $$$ over this. She would do better to co-operate with the police and quit her complaining. If she has had a string of boyfriends then the police need to know about it and who they are. An EX boyfriend is most likely responsible.

    (-11) 47 Total Votes - 18 up - 29 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      In attempting to shift the blame to the victims, your argument becomes illogical and lacks credibility.

      There are a lot of crimes that have not yet been perpetrated to someone in AG.

      That doesn’t mean any of those crimes won’t occur.

      Almost any crime can occur at almost any location given certain criteria are met.

      Whether or not a specific crime has occurred in AG before has nothing to do with whether or not a potential crime should be investigated.

      (-6) 22 Total Votes - 8 up - 14 down
      • Side_Show_Bob says:

        But her point does bring to light that there can and should be two sides to this investigation. It’s obvious that all those that are chomping at the bit over the “Racist” or ‘Racism” aspects of this case will be quick to stomp the brains out of anyone, including law enforcement, that even alludes to the fact that it’s “possible” things are not as they seem to us on the outside and it is “possible” that the victims could possibly be involved in some way, shape, or form.

        Does it REALLY take a lawyer to ask the law enforcement agency WHY they asked those questions as this article alludes to?

        (10) 28 Total Votes - 19 up - 9 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          I don’t know if it does or not.

          However, you can be danged sure that the City of AG and its police force have access to ALLLLL the legal representation they want (and we pay for it, too).

          But the woman who may have been sexually harassed (by the questions) doesn’t need a lawyer to advise her?

          I tell you one thing. Now that she has a lawyer, I bet inappropriate questions from the police won’t happen again.

          THAT’s why she needs an attorney. To protect herself from further actions from the police, like the questions about her sexual history going back ten years.

          I’m actually a very strong supporter of police and other emergency responders. I have a brother-in-law who retired from the LACounty Sheriff’s Department.

          But everybody, even police officers, make mistakes. When they do, they need to be called on it, and it needs to be set right.

          (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
      • Cindy says:

        MayMalone, To extrapolate that I suggest that it is the victims fault is what is illogical. What I suggest is that the victim rejected someone who was most likely pursuing an intimate relationship. She obviously sensed something wasn’t right about this individual so she rejected him and she was right. How is this her fault, is she responsible for who might find her attractive? I’m sure the detectives didn’t only inquire who she was intimate with but they wanted to know about everybody so they could sort out the personalities and profiles.

        It’s also possible that this was perpetrated by classmates of someone that her daughter rejected although her daughter is obviously young and her sex life most likely would not be a factor (so the police acted appropriately and did not pursue this line of questioning with the daughter). If this was classmates, they are young and probably didn’t realize the gravity of their actions at the time. Regardless, how is this the victims fault?

        I simply suggest that these avenues must be pursued as there is a high probability that here is where the culprit will be found. Of course this scenario isn’t quite as sensational as the idea that skin heads are targeting racially diverse families for terrorism.

        To hire an attorney and take exception over this line of questioning is simply obtuse, although I understand that the mother would feel sensitive about it, these questions must be asked. Likewise to suggest that the police are somehow responsible for not asking if there were any individuals of mixed race in the household is unreasonable since it was dark and the police didn’t realize that a cross had been burning at the time. No doubt it appeared to them that someone had simply lit a fire in a vacant lot.

        (-6) 20 Total Votes - 7 up - 13 down
        • MaryMalone says:


          This is what you wrote: “This hasn’t happened to any other black or mixed race families in the area so I find it doubtful that this is about “arbitrarily” harassing a mixed race family. Why this “ONE” family and not others, there are certainly others in the area?”

          Your logic is faulty, as explained previously, just by your reasoning that, because it hasn’t happened to any other black or mixed race families in the area, it is “doubtful” this is harassing a mixed-race family.

          So, that side of the argument right there is illogical.

          The second illogical side of your statement–that a “classmate” who was rejected by the target (the daughter) would light a cross in front of her bedroom window and, because the classmate was rejected, then it wouldn’t be a hate crime? Is that close to what you meant?

          It makes no sense for someone who may have been rejected, but wasn’t racist, to deal with it by going to the trouble to steal an 11-foot cross, transport it to the victim’s home, then set it afire. Someone who wasn’t racist wouldn’t, IMO, even think of that kind of a response to rejection. IMO, this reason for the action is way down the list on possible reasons for the action.

          About the blame-shifting-

          It seems that you have gone to some effort to explain away the most obvious reason for the event under investigation. In so doing, you make up a situation where she rejected a classmate she knew wasn’t “right,” etc., etc.

          Out of the thousands of SLO County classmates rejected by other classmates in a year, I have not heard or read about ONE burning a cross in front of the rejector’s bedroom window. Not ONE. Have you? Therefore, I think this proposed reason is beyond highly improbable.

          I think this is shifting at least part of the blame onto the victim by making her a part of the proposed reason for the cross-burning. When you add the part of the story that indicates she realized she’d become involved with someone who wasn’t normal, it brings in her bad judgment as allowing her to get involved with him in the first place.

          Now, about the issue of the two victims seeking the services of an attorney….

          The City of Arroyo Grande and their police officers certainly have access to a resident-funded City Attorney.

          Yet the two victims of this apparent hate crime are wrong for doing the same thing?

          (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
    • SLO Head In The Sand says:

      How can you be so sure this has not happened to any other black or mixed race family!

      Given our local law enforement and the local media I am shocked that you would make that statement!

      The ONLY source for this kind of news in SLO county comes from either Karen Velie or Dan Blackburn period!

      And if they don’t uncover it then we don’t know period!

      (-1) 25 Total Votes - 12 up - 13 down
    • classicalgirl says:

      You don’t know if this has happened to another mixed race family other than no crime has been reported to the police which I now understand why.
      No matter what the culprits reasoning was in committing this act, a cross was set on fire near the bedroom window of a black individual. The individual knew what they were trying to convey. This is a hate crime and was intended to intimidate the victim.

      (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
  2. LRS says:

    Why the delay in investigating this as a hate crime? A burning cross has been a symbol of hate in this country for decades. Just because someone is not a person of color doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a target for this kind of hateful act. And, what does the mother’s past, present or future sexual history have to do with the burning cross in her yard?

    I have had friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who are not of color who have been targeted for racially motivated hate speech and/or behavior for various reasons; being married to, or dating someone of color, having friends who are of color, being seen simply talking to someone of color, having bi-racial children, being (or suspected of being) Jewish, Middle Eastern, Latino, or bi-racial. I could go on and on.

    People who do things like this make no distinction between black and any other group(s) of people they hate.

    (1) 19 Total Votes - 10 up - 9 down
    • racket says:

      “”People who do things like this make no distinction between black and any other group(s) of people they hate.””

      Equal opportunity racists, eh?

      (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
  3. Cindy says:

    It sounds to me that the police didn’t initially investigate this as a hate crime because the mother is white and it wasn’t until she informed the police that her daughter was black, that they considered this to be more than a prank. There is also no mention of a father which leads me to belive that the mother was questioned about her relationships because she is single. It’s possible that this was a disgrunteled boyfriend giving her a bad time. I don’t see anything wrong with the line of questioning by the police. They are simply attempting to determine all the possibiliteis. It’s not like this happens everyday and her daughter certainly isn’ t the only dark skinned person living in the area. It just makes sense to investigate all the possibilities, like who might have a personal issue with the mother or daughter.

    (12) 34 Total Votes - 23 up - 11 down
    • MaryMalone says:


      1. A woman having a disgruntled boyfriend is not, by itself, sufficient reason for investigators to question the woman about her sex life over the last ten years.

      2. Again, you attempt to bring in one of the targets of the hate crime to share the blame for the hate crime. Whether or not the mother had a disgruntled boyfriend in her past (and, certainly it would not be unusual if she did), no one should be asked by an investigator for an unrelated crime about their sex life. By making the boyfriend “disgruntled” in your scenario, it implies something went wrong in the relationship, which then also drags in the mother.

      (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
  4. mrcyberdoc says:

    I’m sure the police asked her many questions about her “history” that were not sexual in nature. How better to find if this was a personal attack by a known aquaintence, thus ruling out a random act. So why is she focusing on this part of the investigation? Hired a lawyer! Do I smell $$$. I don’t think the police lit the burning cross, so why doesn’t she just leave it alone.

    (-6) 42 Total Votes - 18 up - 24 down
    • willie says:

      Attorneys will ALWAYS say “its not about the money!”
      They will NEVER in their noble deed admit it is about the money, one way or another, directly or indirectly.

      (0) 20 Total Votes - 10 up - 10 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Just because someone does something for the money, it doesn’t mean what they do isn’t a service that is vitally needed by the person doing the service.

        The work you do–are you paid for it? If so, just because you are paid for it, is the work you do any less needed by those who benefit from your work?

        (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
    • abner says:

      Nobody has any compassion for this family, and now she got a lawyer, she’s in it for the money…..you all say…How would YOU feel????
      Christ on a crutch, go back to your gay porno, and Craiglist Rants and Raves….nothin to see here…..

      (-30) 46 Total Votes - 8 up - 38 down
      • willie says:

        I admittedly ragged on attorneys but will admit there are attorneys who do their job well.
        This is an open (minded) blog, we make conjectures, speculations, punch and poke holes, otherwise it would be very dull, boring and narrow.

        (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  5. oceanone says:

    Unfortunately, it appears like little has changed in Arroyo Grande over the years.

    (8) 22 Total Votes - 15 up - 7 down

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