A racist Stormfront hits Arroyo Grande

March 28, 2011

By KAREN VELIE

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.”


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willie

Invest in trained Pit bulls, Dobermans or German Shepherds but NOT attorneys to fix the trash


willie

Dogs do not racially discriminate!

Get em boy!


Pizmo

Kellygirl; the cross was not burning on her front yard… it was burning in an empty lot near her home.


The fact that $he retained a lawyer $peaks for it$elf.


Side_Show_Bob

Her Lawyering up paints a whole different picture of this incident.


How did the Perps know that was the daughter’s bedroom to perch the cross next to?


Lots of questions come to mind. I hope that Law Enforcement has the cajones to look at BOTH sides of the equation.


MaryMalone

I agree. I have a brother-in-law who is an LACounty Deputy Sheriff, so I am predisposed to be supportive of police, fire, and rescue personnel, in general.


However, sometimes–for whatever reasons–officers of the law will do something wrong. When it comes to asking sexual questions of someone whose daughter may be the victim of a hate crime, the investigation has to be straightened out and put on the straight path so that more screw-ups don’t occur.


I’m glad to hear the FBI is involved. They have a lot of experience in these matters, and will be able to train, by working with the local officers who aren’t familiar with working hate crimes.


Nonetheless, the mother was wise to get legal representation. It appears rights may be getting trampled on and she deserves to have assistance in dealing with these issues from someone with experience in the matter.


I dont’ understand people who condemn someone for “lawyering up,” especially when it comes to issues involving a city or law enforcement.


Do they really think the city and its officers aren’t availing themselves to attorney assistance as it is needed?


RU4Real

What’s NOT clear to me is, why did the Mother place a SECOND 9-1-1 call to the po-po? Surely the investigating officer who conducted the field investigation and/or wrote up the “incident report” MUST HAVE given her his/her business card…I’m SURE even the AG Police Department has business cards for their officers. Why didn’t she simply call the investigating officer instead of “wasting a 9-1-1 call? This really does not make sense on her part, given the fact she called the following morning…


slojo

Ummm…it makes perfect sense to me why the cops asked about who she has slept with. Don’t you people watch T.V.? This is obviously a personal attack and it will be someone who the mother pissed off. It will probably be someone the mother dated/slept with in the past.


No disrespect, people can sleep with whoever they want and it’s no one’s business……except when you want the po-po to solve a crime then you need to spill it.


MaryMalone

Actually, for the police to ask her about her sexual activities in the context of an 11′ cross being burned in front of her daughter’s bedroom window is so twisted and bizarre, it sounds very much like sexual harassment and an attempt to intimidate a witness.


(The “witness” would be the mother who “witnessed” the dismissive and non-serious way such a crime was treated by the police.)


slojo

It sounds to me like they think the incident was directed at the mother and they are trying to identify the people she is/was involved with to see if any of those people have anything to do with white supremecy “gangs”. It seems pretty simple to me.


How do you expect someone to solve a crime if you can’t ask any questions?


MaryMalone

Strawman argument–I did not indicate that I “expect someone to solve a crime” if they “can’t ask any questions.” That was something from you. Is that how you feel?


There may be a legitimate reason for investigators asking the (white) mother about her sexual activities going back ten years in connection with the 11-foot burning cross placed in front of her (apparently genitically multiracial) daughter’s bedroom window…but it sure doesn’t appear likely.


If there is a legitimate reason, then those asking the questions and directing the investigation are going to be fine. If not, then the City has to ensure that this kind of (what may be) sexual harassment to intimidate a witness doesn’t happen again in their police force.


It may not be comfortable to watch, but it will benefit AG’s residents, its city government, and the staff and officers who work for AG.


pasoparent5

According the article, many vehicles (2? 5?) pulled up to the victim’s house at 1230am… Who are the witnesses? Neighbors? Why no descriptions of the cars involved?


And the burning cross was not standing upright when cops arrived. If a white woman answered the door and the cops didn’t realize the burning pile of wood was a cross, they couldn’t put 2 and 2 together without more facts. Why didn’t the mom immediately explain that her daughter is black? (actually bi-racial)


As for the cops questioning the mom about her sexual past, is it possible she had a relationship with one of the suspects? She’s white. Maybe the skinhead got disgusted when he found out she had a bi-racial daughter?? Just a thought.


Either way, sounds like the cops blew it and a L-A-W-S-U-I-T is sure to follow.


MaryMalone

The Stormfront website is much more toned down than it used to be. I don’t know if that is good or bad, because sometimes it is best to see what’s out there, rather than to not know it’s there.


The website used to have a section where women who wanted to further the Aryan ideals could connect with men who wanted to further the Aryan ideals, kind of like the baby farms Hitler used to have.


undertow

Many of the most criminally minded gangs and members do not wear tats,gang related cloths or otherwise that will draw attention to them for obvious reasons. Doing a better job of hiding things or cleaned things up? I think you know the real answer.


MaryMalone

Oh, I have no illusions about the continuing presence of racists/bigots in our society. I was just commenting on the Stormfront website, and making the point that it was quite different in the past.


leftyslo

Thank you for not choosing Law Enforcement as an occupation.


“And the burning cross was not standing upright when cops arrived. If a white woman answered the door and the cops didn’t realize the burning pile of wood was a cross, they couldn’t put 2 and 2 together without more facts. Why didn’t the mom immediately explain that her daughter is black? (actually bi-racial)”


Please, let’s get one thing straight: No one “has to be black” to figure out that a potential hate crime has occurred. And the “cross wasn’t standing upright?” R u kidding me? Crimes don’t usually solve themselves magically. I for one have basic expectations of my police force – like I expect them to investigate crimes.


RU4Real

Let me get this straight…”so the purported “skin heads” stole a cross from a church some time back, and then, just kept it on hand in their “hide out”, waiting for the “perfect victim” to come along at some unknown location sometime in the future…This “theory” just does NOT add up…


RU4Real

If the “plan” is to sue the city of Arroyo Grande or AG PD, I don’t know on what “grounds” she has in mind…I don’t know the status of AG’s budget, but if they’re like every other community in this County, well, good luck, not only is it tough suing a city/town, but you can’t get blood out of a turnup! Does she have a “plan B”? Next question: Who harmed her & What harm was done to her?


Side_Show_Bob

Anyone know when Reverend Al or Reverend Jesse will be arriving in town? They can’t possibly be far behind this!


WiseGuy

And what would be the problem with that, Side Show Bob?

Are you saying they are not welcome here? Would you feel different if they were white?


Side_Show_Bob

No problem at all WiseGuy. I ask because neither one those two putz’ ever let a racial crisis go to waste. Perhaps this just isn’t big enough for them.


As for their skin color? A Putz is a Putz, regardless of skin tone. You however, seem to really want to make my statement into a racist remark, don’t you? I’m not the least bit surprised as it’s common knowledge that you LibTards will label anybody with a different take on the issue as a Racist and/or Bigot since your views are the only “correct” views. Ya’ll got priors.


leftyslo

Dear Side_Show:


Please step out of the right-wing echo chamber long enough to realize that this terrible incident has nothing to do with “LibTards”.


danika

Mr. Sharpten makes controversy in any way he can to publisize himself. Is he even an ordained Reverend? In any event, this is a serious race issue and we all should become a-c-t-i-v-e when it comes to hate crimes. There is never ANY reason to cause any race to feel unsafe anywhere.


undertow

Why isn’t yesterdays stabbing in Lompuke of a Mormon boy who was knifed by 3 Latinos considered a hate crime? I believe this is the point Side show Bob is making. We seem to have select individuals who seek justice to the full extent only when it suits their agenda and overlook the other obvious crimes involving unlike races.


leftyslo

under:


Please don’t confuse the issue: hate crimes are a specific subset of crime: usually defined by state law as a crime that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability.


The motivation for the crime is key. That a crime occurred between people of different races is not what we’re talking about here. No agenda – I hate injustice wherever it occurs and hope the crime you described is also prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


undertow

What do you find confusing? Theres probable hate or some motive ,religious differences,color and or race differences and physical harm involved. Seems pretty clear cut to me. Guess it could be “just a “gag” like AG’s mayor said about the cross burning couldn’t it? Call it what you want, we don’t need a law to tell us whats right, wrong or racially motivated.


leftyslo

I know I know, we don’t need laws. I mean, why bother with motives when it comes to justice, crime and punishment? No difference between murder and manslaughter right? – because in either case, someone’s dead.


rferris

Hate crimes are thought crimes, ( think 1984 ) Real crimes are crimes regardless of the motive. You can never know what is truly in an others heart so laws must be based on the ACTION, not the motive. You can never know the motivation so hate laws are totally bogus. If it is to be a crime then it can not matter what someone say is their motive is, the consequences of their action should be all that matters.

Every crime of violence is a hate crime! To pretend otherwise is foolish. So only some victims get full justice while others get less??? Deal with the crime and forget what you think are the motivations, the victims harm is in no way less or more no matter the supposed motivation is. Harm is harm and that is what matters!!!


zaphod

Remember this guy?

and the fellow up in Spokane.


racket

I think I found a clue in the text of this article:


AGPD did not take the pile of embers seriously until Friday when “… the mother explained her daughter was black.”


At the time of the crime, the police were responding to a distraught home owner’s 911-call about a nafarious hooligan fire in the vacant lot next door. AGPD comes, assesses that the fire presents no immediate danger, and moves on.


Only later do they find that the fire was a racist hate crime, targeted at a specific victim.


Seems like sloppyish police work in the beginning, but an easy enough mistake to make.


What do you think?


racket

What I mean is that the caller did not (presumably) identify the household as a mixed-race household.


Were the police suppose to ask whether any potential hate crime victims lived in the house?


Were they supposed to canvass the neighborhood looking for minorities?


You get where I am going with this.


FWIW: I think it is a sick and cowardly crime, and I hope the guilty are soon caught. But I am not seeing a lot of negligence on the part of AGPD.


kellygirl

You’re not seeing a lot of negligence by the police? What part of this story are you not understanding?


This woman has a cross burning on her front lawn and the only thing the AG police can ask is “Who have you been sleeping with these last ten years”? Are you kidding me? Since when is that standard police procedure?


Insensitivity like this happens only in an all-white community which is what SLO County basically is. According to Racket, the police have to ask if someone is black in the house before they can make a connection.


A skinhead causes trouble in a bar at 9 p.m. A cross goes burning at midnight, but the AG mayor insists it’s only a prank.


Gimme a break.


racket

kellygirl:


¿AGPD should have assumed there were black people in a house near the empty lot where a cross was burning? Should they have assumed which house, or should they have canvassed the whole neighborhood looking for potential hate crime victims? What are you saying?


Like you, the sexual partner questioning doesn’t make any sense to me, either.


If I were a cop rolling up on the scene, I would assume it was misguided trash on a tear against the church that owned the cross. Until I found out that there were black people in the immediate vicinity, I would not have assumed it was a targeted act. What would you do differently to “know” it was an act against an individual?


bobfromsanluis

“Should they have assumed which house, or should they have canvassed the whole neighborhood looking for potential hate crime victims?” Wow, nice disconnect there; based on a call to 911 about a “cross burning”, is it so terribly difficult to ask the person who lives in the house where the cross was burned perhaps why a cross would have been set on fire outside their house? Notice the question I posed; there is no mention about if there is a black person living there, just an inquiry into why a cross would be set on fire at that location. This is very sloppy police work by the first responders, period. If you remember the response by the A.G. Chief of Police, he took this very seriously, called in the FBI and gave the mother his personal cell number so she could call him if there were anymore problems. It doesn’t matter if the stealing of the cross is a prank done on a dare or drunken stupor, but to come across the remains of a cross that has been burned on a person’s property usually means that there is a reason that the cross is placed on that particular property and burned. It isn’t rocket science, it is connecting the dots. The response by the city of Arroyo Grande, “fail”, only to offset by the good response by the Chief of Police.

To connect the dots a little further, many racists have been emboldened by the “reality by agreement” that racists and skinheads share that having a person of color elected as our president has shaken the core of belief that whites are somehow supposed to be superior to all other races and more racial incidents are happening across the United States. Our similarities are more compelling than our differences; we are all human, citizens of the world, residents of America next, then our individual states, counties, cities or small towns, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters THEN we classify into smaller groups based on religions, skin color and/or ethnicity and political viewpoints. For racists though, it seems more like a case of “black and white” or “us against them” because of the perceived differences. Grow up, we are all much more alike than we are different, other than the fear of being motivated by perceived differences.


MaryMalone

The sexual history questions don’t seem appropriate or logical.


An 11′ cross is set afire outside the home of a woman and her minor daughter, the police show up and don’t appear to do a very good investigation, then, after negative press is published about what happened, the police return and ask the mother the details about her sexual history going back ten years.


I hope it isn’t true, but the sexual history questions seem so out of context and unwarranted, it may indicate the police were trying to intimidate the mother and daughter.


I would hope the police have a very good reason for asking such questions. I f not, some questions need to be asked by independent, outside reviewers.


hotdog

You make good points, I was getting outraged at the lack of good cop work until I read your words. Of course this could go either way, I hope I can maintain the attitude that most bad cops are in SLO and north after this is over. Certainly every dept from SLO to Paso has lost all credibility, including teh sheriff.


danika

Did the police bother to investigate the details that could have presented obvious evidence that the daughter was black, therefore indicating the potential to be a hate crime? It seems an easy enough thing to do….ask the question: “Ma’am, are all household members caucasian?”. Heck, they asked about her sexual history for the last 10 years, how much more personal can you get???


zaphod

The Order and other loosely organized Christian Nationalist groups target/punish ‘race traitors’ when ever they can it is part and parcel to the agenda of white Christian nationalism


MaryMalone

If a cross is burning in front of someone’s window, the police who report to the scene should, tactfully, find out if there is any reason to believe this may have been a hate crime.


It appears the police did not handle this appropriately, and are now trying to fix the problem.


I don’t believe inquiring about the mother’s prior sexual history is “fixing the problem,” however. If anything, they may be opening up the doorway for a sexual harassment lawsuit.


Most women in the mother’s situation, with a minor daughter living in the home, an 11 foot cross having been burned outside the daughter’s window, the police not handling the first interaction well, and now the police inquiring in detail about the mother’s sexual history, might be intimidated by having those sexual details asked by the police.