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July 18, 2013

Arizona Aryan Brotherhood Member Convicted Of Hate Crime For Threatening Phoenix Officer

A Phoenix jury on July 10, 2013, convicted a self-professed member of the Arizona Aryan Brotherhood, Brian Lee Harm, of one felony count of threatening the Phoenix Police Department officer who had arrested him for trespassing in August 2012.  The conviction included a hate crime enhancement.brian-lee-harm

According to the police report filed after Harm’s arrest, the officer encountered Harm while responding to a call about a white male waving his hands in the air and yelling at passing vehicles.   When the officer found him, Harm—who matched the description called in—was attempting to force open the sliding glass doors of a nearby office building.  The officer, and a second officer who soon arrived at the scene, spoke with Harm and eventually placed him under arrest for trespassing. 

Following his arrest, Harm became angry and abusive, soon lapsing into repeated crude ethnic slurs.  According to the officer, Harm’s rhetoric escalated, with Harm threatening to injure or kill the officer and to “make trouble” for all officers in the area.  When Harm stated that he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood (a reference to the Arizona Aryan Brotherhood, a large and violent white supremacist prison gang), the officer began recording Harm’s remarks.

Among the recorded remarks Harm made was a threat to “beat nigger children, too, I don’t fu–in’ care.”  Harm said that he would have “all my Brotherhood brothers” come to the neighborhood and “you’ll pay the ultimate price.”  He told the officer that “ni—rs won’t be safe in this neighborhood” and that “it’s gonna be tough to go out to dinner for you now.”  His remarks included many more similar comments, including additional threats.

Prosecutors charged harm with felony threatening or intimidating as well as assisting a criminal street gang.  In Harm’s July 2013 trial, the jury acquitted Harm of the assisting a gang charge but found him guilty of threatening or intimidating.  Furthermore, in the aggravation phase of deliberations, the jury found that the offense involved the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury, that the defendant committed the offense with the intent to promote, further or assist criminal conduct by a criminal street gang, and that the offense was a bias crime (i.e., a hate crime).

Harm is currently in the Maricopa County Jail awaiting sentencing.

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