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February 25, 2015

White Supremacist Gangs: A Growing Problem in Missouri

missouri-white-supremacist-gangs

Missouri white supremacist gangs

Missouri has had long experience with white supremacists ranging from neo-Nazis to the Ku Klux Klan, but in recent years a new threat has emerged in the Show Me state:   white supremacist prison gangs.   Some states have been plagued by such gangs for years, but until recently, Missouri had only a limited experience with them.

Now, however, there are a number of white supremacist gangs active in Missouri, typically emerging in prisons and jails, then expanding onto the streets. These gangs combine the criminal know-how of organized crime with the bigoted ideology of hate groups.

Law enforcement has been increasingly concerned about the spread of such gangs in Missouri. Unfortunately, recent events have justified that concern. On January 26, 2015, a member of the Southwest Honkies gang, Joshua Lee Hagood, shot a Springfield police officer in the head while police were investigating a suspicious van. The officer sustained career-ending injuries. This was actually the second officer shooting in Springfield related to the gang. In 2013, Honkies member Martin Potts wounded another officer during a shootout before officers fatally shot Potts.

Police have not been the only Missourians at risk. In February, two Southwest Honkies members, Aaron Williams and Austin Pierce, were charged with a hate crime after allegedly threatening to kill an African-American woman and her children while trying to break into her house. In January, a member of the Joplin Honkies received a seven-year prison sentence for assault and abandoning a corpse.

Gangs like the Joplin and Southwest Honkies are growing in Missouri. Accompanying that growth is increased crime, typically traditional crimes like home invasions or drug-related crime (gangs are often involved with the methamphetamine trade). Criminal gain tends to trump white supremacy, but gangs can engage in hate-related violence, too. Gangs often embrace a cruder form of white supremacy than neo-Nazi or Klan groups, but have larger memberships.

There are five main white supremacist gangs operating in Missouri:

  • Sacred Separatist Group (SSG): The Anti-Defamation League first encountered the SSG in 2005, but it has grown considerably in recent years. Like some of the other gangs, it originated in the Western Missouri Correctional Center. ADL has identified members of this fairly large gang from all over Missouri. SSG members have associated with members of all the gangs listed here.
  • Joplin Honkies: The Joplin Honkies originated behind bars around the same time as SSG. Originally, members called themselves the Joplin Boys. The Honkies are concentrated in southwest Missouri, especially around Joplin and Springfield.   The ADL has identified dozens of active members of the Joplin Honkies, but their true numbers are higher. Offshoot gangs include the Southwest Honkies and the 417 Honkies.
  • Peckerwood Midwest: Members of this gang have been identified in both eastern and western Missouri, as well as across the southern part of the state (Springfield to Cape Girardeau). ADL has identified at least 34 members and associates of this gang, though again, actual numbers are considerably higher.
  • Family Values: Family Values is a smaller gang and not all members are hardcore white supremacists (some even associate with non-whites). However, a number of identified members do use common white supremacist symbols such as swastikas, SS bolts, 14 and 88. A number of gang members live in or around St. Louis and Springfield.
  • Aryan Circle (AC):The Aryan Circle is not native to Missouri but to Texas, where it is one of the largest white supremacist prison gangs. It has expanded into a number of other states, recently moving into Missouri largely as a result of recruitment from Indiana and gang members from federal prison who returned or moved to Missouri. ADL has identified at least 23 active members and associates of Aryan Circle in Missouri, especially in northeast Missouri.

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June 9, 2014

“Dawn of a New Day”: Las Vegas Shooter’s Final Message

The most recent entry on Jerad Miller’s Facebook, left on Saturday, June 7, is chilling: “The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it.”jerad-amanda-miller

Jerad Miller, along with his wife Amanda, are the two suspects who committed suicide in a Las Vegas Walmart on Sunday, after allegedly fatally shooting two Las Vegas police officers in a nearby restaurant and a third person at the Walmart itself.

Based on their Internet writings, Jerad and Amanda Miller were both right-wing anti-government extremists of the “Patriot” movement variety, believing in all the common militia-type conspiracy theories about the “New World Order,” including concentration camps for Americans, coming martial law, and chemtrails, among others.

Some of Jerad’s postings in the months before the Las Vegas incident seem to reflect a growing radicalization. In March, Jerad declared that he had “compromised enough” and that he was “prepared to die” for his convictions about freedom and tyranny. “The day of your judgment will come,” he wrote, “not from my hand, for you will make me a martyr…Come for me, free me from your slavery. Give me the death a hero deserves. Help wake the masses to your corruption and treason. I f*****g dare you!”

In April, Jerad Miller travelled to the scene of the Cliven Bundy standoff, hoping that it “could be the next Waco and start of [the] revolution.”   In early May, Miller claimed that “there is no greater cause to die for than liberty” and that he would willingly do so. “Death, in a sense is freedom from tyranny,” he posted. Miller claimed that he and his wife “will not submit to fascist rule” and “are willing to sacrifice everything.”

Amanda Miller also had anti-government and conspiratorial beliefs. “Every day I realize how more and more people are asleep and only a few of us are awake,” she wrote in 2012. “The government is trying to take away our rights…only the few of us are willing to fight back.” Miller stated that she was “proud to be awake to see what[‘]s really going on.”

The anger that the Millers felt at the government and police may have increased in 2013, when Jerad Miller had to serve a period of home confinement following a criminal incident apparently involving marijuana. “Here I am,” he wrote about the confinement, “because the previous generations of Americans were a bunch of spineless zombies.” Hopefully, he wrote, “we can achieve freedom without killing the older generations off. It may come to that.”

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August 23, 2013

Plot To Kidnap, Kill Police Officers Uncovered in Las Vegas

Officers from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department have arrested David Allan Brutsche, 42, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67, for allegedly plotting to kidnap and kill police officers in Las Vegas.david-allan-brutsche-sovereign-citizen

According to police, the two suspects were adherents of the sovereign citizen movement who sought to abduct a police officer while the officer made a traffic stop, then later kill him or her.    The two allegedly videotaped a police traffic stop in preparation and modified a bedroom in a vacant home to create a makeshift cell in which a kidnapped officer could be detained.  After “trying” the officer in a court of their own making, they allegedly planned to kill the officer and dispose of the body.  Both Brutche and Newman reportedly made statements in which they said they would be willing to shoot law enforcement officers.

However, Brutsche and Newman were unaware that some of the people whom they thought were accomplices were actually police officers conducting an undercover investigation.  Police have charged them with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and attempted first-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon. The sovereign citizen movement is extremely anti-government in nature and adherents of the movement have been involved in a number of police killings and plots against police and government officials in recent years.

After her arrest, Newman, who for several years has been the local public relations director for the Church of Scientology in Las Vegas, gave jailhouse interviews with local television reporters in which she denied involvement in any plot to kidnap or kill officers, saying she only intended to video them.  The Scientology movement as a whole does not have any significant association with the sovereign citizen movement.

Newman told reporters that she met Brutsche while he was giving out water bottles on the Las Vegas strip in exchange for donations.  Police have, in fact, arrested Brutsche more than once for obstructive use of a public sidewalk and operating without a business license.  On a more serious note, Brutsche is a registered sex offender with felony convictions in California for indecent exposure and lascivious acts with a three-year-old child.

In October 2012, Brutsche filed a sovereign citizen “Affidavit of Status” with the Clark County Recorder’s Office in which he declared himself as “one of the people of these united [sic] States of America” and a “living, breathing sentient human being on the land” exempt from “any and all identifications, treatments, and requirements as any ARTIFICIAL PERSON pursuant to any process, law, code, regulation, ordinance, statute or any color thereof.”  In the document Brutsche also declared that “public servants” who violate their oaths of office “commit a Treason.”

Two months later, Brutsche filed a second document that seemed to anticipate future encounters with law enforcement.  The document, titled “Schedule of Fees for David Allen Brutsche,” listed fees Brutsche would apparently attempt to charge police for any interaction with him.  For example, the fee for “speaking to a cop” was “20 minutes for free” then $200 per hour.  If someone impounded his vehicle, the fee was “$2000 or 1 troy ounce of gold plus cost of recovery and any damages.”

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