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March 22, 2013

Texas Police Shoot White Supremacist From Colorado

A member of the 211 Crew, a Colorado-based racist prison gang, was shot and mortally wounded by police on March 21.  Police shot Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, of Denver, Colorado, following a high-speed chase and shootout. 

The incident began in Montague County, Texas, when Deputy James Boyd was allegedly shot by Ebel, twice in the chest and once in the ear, during a routine traffic stop.  Boyd, who was wearing body armor, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

Members from multiple law enforcement agencies pursued Ebel, who allegedly fired his gun out the window as he led police on a high-speed chase until he crashed into a semi-trailer truck on Highway U.S. 380 in Decatur.  According to police, Ebel exited his vehicle after the crash and opened fire on police who returned fire, mortally wounding Ebel.

Ebel, a parolee from the Colorado Department of Corrections, has a criminal history dating back to 2003 when he was convicted of robbery.  He was also convicted of assaulting a prison guard in 2008.  Currently, authorities are investigating Ebel’s possible connection to two El Paso County, Colorado, murders which occurred earlier this week, including that of Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements. 

Ebel is the second 211 Crew member killed by police in just over a year.  In February 2012, Jeremiah Barnum of Englewood, Colorado, was shot and killed by police after he allegedly ignored an officer’s orders to stop, and instead reached for a gun in his waistband.  Barnum, who was a high ranking member of 211 Crew, was convicted in 1999 of being an accessory after the fact to the race-based murder of a West African immigrant in Denver.  

211 Crew Tattoo

The 211 Crew, named after the California penal code for robbery, also known as the Aryan Alliance, was started in the Denver County Jail in 1995 by Benjamin Davis.  In 2007, Davis was convicted of operating a criminal enterprise from prison that sold drugs and ordered attacks on inmates and others outside prison.

The gang consists of several hundred members who are recruited in prison, but continue their criminal activities after their release, including attempted murder, assault, robbery, racketeering, bribery, witness tampering, and drug distribution.  As with most racist prison gangs, any white supremacist ideology they might have is secondary to their organized crime or criminal enterprise motives. 

This shooting, the second this month, is a continuation of a string of at least 30 shootouts between police and domestic extremist in the United States since 2009.  Earlier this month police fatally shot anti-government extremist Jeffery Allen Wright following a four-hour standoff in Florida.

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June 13, 2012

The Bloody Trail of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas

What’s the most violent extremist group in the United States today? The answer may be surprising: it is the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), one of the largest white supremacist prison gangs in the country. According to ADL records, since 2000, this racist group—which has no relationship to the older, “original” Aryan Brotherhood—has killed more Americans than any other domestic extremist group.

Since 2000, ABT members and associates have committed at least 29 murders in the United States, all in Texas or neighboring states. The true number is likely considerably higher, as most murders that occur behind prison walls do not get reported by the media. The 29 known killings are all “street” killings, more evidence of the growing presence of racist prison gangs on the streets of America.

Why are there so many ABT murders? There are two main reasons. The first is that the ABT inculcates an acceptance of violence in its members; violence is as often as not the first—or even only—solution to a perceived problem.

The second relates to the nature of racist prison gangs in general and the ABT in particular: the ABT is an organized crime group as well as a white supremacist group. The ABT constitution even acknowledges that it can be a “hindrance” to put ideological beliefs before “business transactions” and that the group has to generate income to further its “mission and growth.” The result is that many ABT murders take place in connection with their “traditional” criminal activities, such as methamphetamine trafficking, home invasions, and identity theft.

Even more ABT murders are actually internal murders, in which gang members kill their own, usually because they believe or suspect the victim has become an informant or broken gang rules, but also sometimes due to factional or other internal fights. It is almost as dangerous to be an ABT member as it is to encounter one.

Ironically, only 3 of the 29 known murders linked to this white supremacist group in the past 12 years were actually hate-related, though there have been other hate-related crimes by ABT members, ranging from assaults to arsons of African-American churches.

There is no doubting, however, the viciousness of the ABT killings, some of which were torture-murders while others were execution-style killings, in which the victim’s body was burned, decapitated or otherwise dismembered in order to make identification difficult.

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February 24, 2012

Denver-area Shooting Latest in String of Extremist-Related Violent Confrontations with Police

Police investigating a stolen vehicle in the Denver suburb of Englewood on February 23, 2012, unexpectedly found themselves facing an armed white supremacist with a history of violence—an encounter that eventually turned fatal. 
Jeremiah Barnum’s Colorado Department of Corrections photo
Source: Denver Westword
Earlier that day, Englewood police took two suspects into custody in connection with an allegedly stolen vehicle. Two officers remained behind to finish up paperwork, when they allegedly spotted a vehicle parked nearby whose driver was a “known associate” of the arrested suspects. The driver, later identified as Jeremiah Barnum, a long-time white supremacist with a history of violence, allegedly threatened police, who reportedly noticed that he had a “weapon” in his waistband (a gun was later found in the car). According to officers, Barnum “made a move like he was reaching for a gun” and the officers opened fire, wounding Barnum fatally.  An investigation into the shooting is pending.
In 1997, Barnum had briefly been infamous in Denver, after he and another white supremacist, Nathan Thill, were arrested for the brutal hate crime murder of an African immigrant, Oumar Dia. Thill eventually pleaded guilty in return for a sentence of life without parole. Barnum was initially convicted of murder, but his conviction was overturned by a judge. He eventually pleaded guilty to accessory to murder and received a 12-year sentence. During his stint in prison, he frequently appeared on lists of “Aryan Prisoners of War” circulated by white supremacists to get support for imprisoned fellow racists. He also became a member of the 211 Crew, a Colorado-based racist prison gang (Thill also became a 211 Crew member).
This shooting incident was merely the latest in a long string of confrontations across the country in which shots were fired between police and adherents of extremist movements.  Since 2009, ADL has identified some 24 such incidents, most of them related to white supremacists or anti-government extremists. 
The bulk of the incidents involved actual shootouts or exchanges of fire between police and extremists, while a handful of incidents were officer-involved shootings—typically after extremists attempted to draw weapons on the officers (or, in one instance, actually attempted to fire at police, only to have the gun jam). Six police officers have died in such confrontations, as well as a number of extremists, while others have been wounded or injured.

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