prison gang » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘prison gang’
February 25, 2015 6

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

September 20, 2012 1

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.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,