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June 7, 2012 Off

Brutal Racist Skinhead Assault in Philadelphia Results in Victim’s Blinding

Update — 2/22/16: A judge sen­tenced Stephen Mas­ten to 41 ½ to 83 years in prison after he was found guilty of attempted mur­der, aggra­vated assault, con­spir­acy, and bur­glary charges. Co-defendant Frank Casiano was sen­tenced in July 2015 to 20 to 40 years after plead­ing guilty to aggra­vated assault, con­spir­acy, and bur­glary charges for his role in the attack.

Racist skin­heads have a long track record of bru­tal and vicious assaults and mur­ders in the United States. Usu­ally, they direct their extreme vio­lence at per­ceived “ene­mies,” such as eth­nic or reli­gious minori­ties, mem­bers of the GLBT com­mu­nity, or anti-racist activists.

How­ever, the racist skin­head sub­cul­ture is an inher­ently vio­lent one. When they have a mind to, racist skin­heads can be just as bru­tal towards their own, as a recent shock­ing attack in north­east Philadel­phia graph­i­cally demonstrated.

Accord­ing to police reports, the attack occurred on May 6, 2012, when a racist skin­head, David Phillips, 43, was assaulted by two fel­low white suprema­cists, Stephen Mas­ten, 29, and Frank Casiano, 28, who allegedly kicked in the door to Phillips’ home and began beat­ing him with sticks and a black­jack while threat­en­ing to kill him.

The police report states that the assailants repeat­edly punched, kicked and stabbed Phillips—but that was not all. Accord­ing to the vic­tim, Mas­ten tried to smother Phillips with a pil­low, then gouged out the victim’s eyes with his bare hands, rip­ping them from their sock­ets. Phillips suf­fered mul­ti­ple stab wounds and lac­er­a­tions on his face and head, as well as bro­ken eye sock­ets, and was per­ma­nently blinded by the assault. He remains hospitalized.

Dur­ing the ini­tial inves­ti­ga­tion, Phillips told police that the per­pe­tra­tors were white suprema­cist com­rades of his, while a fourth white suprema­cist who wit­nessed part of the assault allegedly iden­ti­fied the attack­ers as Mas­ten and Casiano. The wit­ness claimed the vio­lent assault was an act of retal­i­a­tion against Phillips because of a prior inci­dent involv­ing Phillips and Masten’s girl­friend while Mas­ten was incar­cer­ated on theft charges. Mas­ten left prison on parole about two weeks prior to the assault.

A few days after the assault, Joshua Steever, founder of the small racist skin­head crew Aryan Ter­ror Brigade (ATB) and cur­rently liv­ing in New Jer­sey, began post­ing about the attack on the ATB’s on-line forum. Iden­ti­fy­ing Phillips as ATB’s Penn­syl­va­nia state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Steever asked forum mem­bers to donate money to help with his recovery.

Police arrested the two sus­pects on May 22, 2012, charg­ing them with attempted mur­der, aggra­vated assault, con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der, bur­glary, crim­i­nal tres­pass­ing, pos­ses­sion of an instru­ment of crime with intent, mak­ing ter­ror­is­tic threats with intent to ter­ror­ize another, sim­ple assault, reck­less endan­ger­ment to another per­son, and crim­i­nal mischief.

Mas­ten and Casiano remain incar­cer­ated with bail set at $3 mil­lion and $1 mil­lion, respec­tively. A pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing is sched­uled for June 12, 2012.

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