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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.

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December 16, 2013 5

Fugitive Alabama White Supremacist Shoots Self As Police Close In

lindsey-scott-carterA fugi­tive and racist prison gang mem­ber from Alabama shot him­self in Arkansas after lead­ing police on a lengthy chase.  On Decem­ber 8, Arkansas state troop­ers pulled over a vehi­cle linked to Lind­sey Scott Carter, 44, wanted in Alabama on sus­pi­cion of mur­der.  The dri­ver, a female friend of Carter, fled the vehi­cle, but Carter took the wheel and drove away. 

After a chase that wound through two coun­ties in west­ern Arkansas, troop­ers used traf­fic spikes to bring the vehi­cle to a halt again.  As the offi­cers approached the car, how­ever, they dis­cov­ered Carter had appar­ently shot him­self to death rather than face capture.

Accord­ing to local author­i­ties, Carter, from Paint Rock, Alabama, had shot and killed a woman on Decem­ber 7 in what police believe was some sort of drug-related dis­pute.  Fol­low­ing the mur­der, a female friend of Carter (since arrested for hin­der­ing pros­e­cu­tion) allegedly pro­vided the vehi­cle that Carter used to flee with a sec­ond female friend.  Author­i­ties have not charged the sec­ond friend, the one who fled the vehi­cle in Arkansas, say­ing that she had not been aware of Carter’s crimes.

Carter had a pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal his­tory and was a mem­ber of the South­ern Broth­er­hood, Alabama’s largest white suprema­cist prison gang.  The South­ern Broth­er­hood, which has a lengthy record of vio­lence and crim­i­nal activ­ity, began in 1995 in the East­er­ling Cor­rec­tional Facil­ity and sub­se­quently spread to the rest of the state (it also has a pres­ence in sev­eral other states).  It also has a biker gang sub­group, the South­ern Broth­er­hood Motor­cy­cle Club.

After Carter’s sui­cide, other South­ern Broth­er­hood mem­bers passed the news of their fel­low gang member’s death.  One South­ern Broth­er­hood gang mem­ber posted to an on-line social net­work­ing web­site that “we lost a good Bro yesterday…Rest in Peace Scott Carter 14/23.”  The num­bers “14/23” con­sti­tute a South­ern Broth­er­hood numeric sym­bol that com­bines two con­cepts.  The num­ber 14 is a ref­er­ence to the so-called 14 Words, a pop­u­lar white suprema­cist slo­gan:  “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”  The num­ber 23 stands for the “23 Pre­cepts,” a list of 23 rules that gang mem­bers are required to follow.

Sim­i­larly, another gang mem­ber posted that “We had a bro pass away yesterday…R.I.P. Scott Carter…14/23 19/2.”  The num­bers 19 and 2 are code for the South­ern Broth­er­hood, as S is the 19th let­ter of the alpha­bet and B the 2nd letter.

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