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November 5, 2012

Idaho White Supremacist Wounds Two Deputies in Shootout

Kyle Alan Batt, a 27-year-old white supremacist from Caldwell, Idaho, remains hospitalized following a shootout on October 23 in which Batt allegedly shot two Canyon County deputies searching for him in connection with an aggravated assault investigation. The shootings are the latest in a string of nearly 30 shootouts between police and domestic extremists in the United States since 2009.

The incident began earlier in the day when Batt allegedly appeared at the home of a woman with whom he had been having a relationship. Batt reportedly carried a firearm and made threats at the woman. The woman called Caldwell police, but Batt had already left the scene when officers arrived.

Later, five Canyon County sheriff’s deputies went to a residence in Caldwell looking for Batt.  Batt allegedly opened fire at the officers as they approached the house, hitting two of them before fleeing. One officer was able to return fire and hit Batt before he fled. A few hours later, deputies found Batt hiding in a nearby garage, at which point he reportedly tried to take his own life by shooting himself.

One of the two wounded deputies remains in serious condition; the other was treated and released with only minor injuries. Batt was listed in critical condition.

Batt has a long criminal history, including several drug convictions. He is also a white supremacist with a large “white power” tattoo stretched across his breastbone. He has connections with other white supremacists in the Nampa-Boise area, including members of the Hammerskins racist skinhead group. The Hammerskins’ presence in this area has significantly increased in recent years and the Hammerskins held their 2012 “Hammerfest,” the group’s annual large white power music concert, in the Nampa-Boise area on October 6, less than a couple of weeks before the shootout.

Among the 100+ attendees at the Boise Hammerfest was Brent Rackley, the bandmate of Hammerskin Wade Page, who killed six people and injured more during a shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in August 2012. It is not known if Batt attended Hammerfest.

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September 20, 2012

Tattooed Shootout Suspect is White Supremacist

Alaskan Jason Barnum has been charged with three counts of attempted murder following a mid-September shootout at an Anchorage hotel in which Barnum allegedly opened fire on police officers investigating a string of burglaries (wounding one of them).

Following the mid-September arrest in Anchorage, photographs of Barnum understandably went viral on the Internet.  Barnum has many striking tattoos, especially on his head, where a skinless jaw is tattooed on the right side of his face.  Most notable of all is Barnum’s right eyeball, which is itself tattooed black.

Now, ADL research has uncovered evidence that Barnum is also a white supremacist.

Barnum has at least two white supremacist tattoos on his body:  a curved swastika and the white supremacist version of the Celtic Cross.  He has also worn white supremacist jewelry, such as a necklace with a swastika superimposed on an Iron Cross, which appears on Barnum in a picture he posted to his Facebook profile in 2011.

In comments on other people’s Facebook profiles, Barnum has used common white supremacist codes such as “1488” (the 14 stands for the “Fourteen Words” white supremacist slogan, while the 88 stands for “Heil Hitler”).  Barnum also includes as one of his Facebook “likes” the Brotherhood Motorcycle Club, while one of his Facebook friends is a ranking member of that group.  The “Brotherhood” is short for the Aryan Brotherhood and the group is actually an offshoot of the Indiana Aryan Brotherhood that is active in Indiana and Oregon. 

Some of Barnum’s other Facebook friends are also white supremacists.  An examination of these individuals and their relationships to Barnum and each other reveals that most or all of them knew Barnum from shared time spent at the maximum security Spring Creek Correctional Center in Alaska, where they seem to have composed a small white supremacist prison clique.

Last January, Barnum complained on his Facebook profile that “[too] many people like to look at me & allways [sic] think that im about to do them harm.  When on the real im a friendly guy.”

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August 23, 2012

Extremist-Related Police Killings Continue to Mount

The recent shootings in St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana, in which two officers were killed and two more injured, highlight the continuing danger domestic extremists pose to officer safety in the United States. Research by the Anti-Defamation League has found that at least one of the suspects has ideological leanings that would put him within the overarching anti-government “Patriot” movement.

The Louisiana shootings were unfortunately only the latest in a series of lethal encounters in the United States between law enforcement officers and domestic extremists.  Earlier this year, six police officers were shot, one fatally, in Ogden, Utah, after police entered a residence to execute a search warrant. Information from the search warrant affidavit strongly suggests that the suspect, David Stewart, was an anti-government extremist.  In 2010, two people associated with the sovereign citizen movement killed two East Memphis police officers and wounded two other officers in a pair of shootouts.

All in all, at least 28 officers have been killed since 2001 in encounters with extremists from one movement or another. The killings have ranged from incidents in which police officers were deliberately targeted by extremists to situations in which police officers happened to encounter extremists engaging in ideological or non-ideological criminal activity.

Overwhelmingly, the perpetrators or suspects in these lethal incidents have been right-wing extremists, adherents of one or another of the primary white supremacist movements or anti-government extremist movements active in the United States today.  This is part of a long-term trend since the 1980s, in which right-wing extremists gradually replaced left-wing extremists as the main source of extremist-related officer killings in the United States.  Though the figures here are solely for fatalities, anecdotal evidence suggests that the same trends hold for non-lethal extremist-related attacks on police officers as well.

The resurgence of right-wing extremism in the United States since 2009 has undoubtedly contributed to the level of violence:  between 2009 and 2012, eight of nine extremist-related officer deaths have been linked to right-wing extremists.

Among right-wing extremists, anti-government extremists have been the most lethal in recent years, perpetrating or suspected of having perpetrated half of the extremist-related officer deaths this century.  However, white supremacists have slain nearly as many officers in the same time period and, in a practical sense, represent virtually the same level of threat to officer safety.

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