The white supremacist movement in the United States has a strong association with violence and criminal activity, ranging from traditional crimes such as drug dealing or domestic violence to ideologically-related crimes ranging from hate crimes to act of terrorism. Every week new criminal incidents emerge. ADL has released a list of selected criminal incidents from recent years, demonstrating the range of white supremacist-related violence and criminal activity from around the country.
On Tuesday, authorities investigating the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting arrested the former girlfriend of Wade Page, the suspected shooter, on a weapons charge. Misty Cook (whose formal name may be Brenda Misty Cook), 31, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after police allegedly found a weapon in the house she shared with Page.
According to court records, Cook had a felony conviction in 2005 for fleeing and eluding police in Milwaukee County. She received a sentence of 18 months’ probation and served 97 days in jail. Cook was not involved in the deadly shooting, but like Page, was a white supremacist.
Cook’s connections to the white supremacist movement date back a number of years. According to a posting she made on April 18, 2012, to an on-line forum for supporters of the Hammerskins, a racist skinhead group, she “heard Pastor Butler speak 8 years ago and it was very inspiring.” “Pastor Butler” is Richard Butler, the deceased founder of the notorious neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations.
In the mid-2000s, Cook had a strong association with the hardcore white supremacist group Volksfront, which has a presence in the Chicago area, where she lived at the time. A Volksfront spokesperson even admitted to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that she had dated several Volksfront members. However, for unknown reasons, she broke with that group around 2008.
By 2009, she had become an active supporter of the Hammerskins, joining Crew 38. Like other hardcore racist skinhead groups, the Hammerskins do not allow women to become members. Crew 38 (the 38 stands for “Crossed Hammers”) is a “support group” they started for women, hangers-on, and people who wished to become Hammerskins someday.
Cook posted frequently to the Crew 38 site, authoring over 850 messages in a three-year period. In many postings, Cook expressed support for the Hammerskins, stating in one post, for example, “I have a lot of respect for what the Hammers do. I just tend to enjoy brothers who are local and I see them all the time.” On her screen avatar for that forum, she identifies herself as “Crew38 Wisconsin.”
The man identified by law enforcement authorities as the suspected gunman in the Wisconsin murder spree on Sunday, August 5, Wade Michael Page, 41, was a white supremacist skinhead known to the Anti-Defamation League for several years as the leader of End Apathy, a white power music band affiliated with the Hammerskins.
The Hammerskins are a longstanding hardcore racist skinhead group with a history of violence and hate crimes. Page was himself a member of the Hammerskins (he was a “prospect” in 2011), and identified himself as a Northern Hammerskin, part of the group’s Midwest branch. He was previously associated to varying degrees with a variety of other white supremacist bands.
Page, who sometimes referred to himself by the pseudonym “Jack Boot,” is festooned with white supremacist tattoos, including a Nazi Death’s Head (Totenkopf) tattoo and a Hammerskins tattoo.
According to an interview Page gave to a Hammerskins-associated record label in 2010, he started End Apathy in 2005 and wrote many of its songs, as well as playing guitar and singing vocals. In recent years, End Apathy has been a featured band at many Hammerskin-organized white power music concerts, including the August 2010 “Meet & Greet BBQ & Bands” in North Carolina, the Hammerskins’ St. Patty’s Day Show in March 2011 in Orlando, Florida, and Hammerfest 2011 in October 2011, also in Orlando.
Images of Wade Page: