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June 9, 2014 25

Officers Down: Right-Wing Extremists Attacking Police At Growing Rate

In Las Vegas on June 8, a man and a woman entered a local pizza restau­rant and shot and killed two Las Vegas Metro Police offi­cers, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, who were eat­ing lunch there. The shoot­ers then crossed the street to a Wal­mart, where they killed another per­son, then com­mit­ted suicide.officers-killed-domestic-extremists-1965-2014

Though, as of this writ­ing, the names of the sus­pects have not yet been released, details of the shoot­ings and sus­pects released by police or uncov­ered by jour­nal­ists strongly sug­gest the shoot­ings may be the work of right-wing extremists.

If so, the two offi­cers who lost their lives this past Sun­day are only the lat­est in a series of casu­al­ties in a de facto war being waged against police by right-wing extrem­ists, includ­ing both anti-government extrem­ists and white suprema­cists. Some extrem­ists have delib­er­ately tar­geted police, while oth­ers have responded vio­lently when meet­ing police in unplanned encoun­ters. The killings are not the effort of a con­certed cam­paign but rather a series of inde­pen­dent attacks and clashes stem­ming from right-wing ideologies.

In the 1960s and 1970s it was left-wing groups like the Black Lib­er­a­tion Army which tar­geted police for killing. How­ever, by the 1980s, right-wing extrem­ists began to sur­pass left-wing extrem­ists in caus­ing police deaths. The num­ber of offi­cers killed by right-wing extrem­ists more than dou­bled in the 1990s, then increased by 50% more in the first decade of the 2000s. Five offi­cers have been killed by right-wing extrem­ists since 2011, not count­ing the Las Vegas incident.

In the past five years alone, from 2009 through 2013, ADL has tracked 43 sep­a­rate vio­lent inci­dents between domes­tic extrem­ists (of all types) and law enforce­ment in the United States. These inci­dents include sit­u­a­tions in which shots are exchanged between police and extrem­ists (shootouts), sit­u­a­tions in which extrem­ists have fired at police but police sub­dued the extrem­ists with­out hav­ing to return fire, and sit­u­a­tions in which offi­cers had to use their firearms to pro­tect them­selves against extremists.

Of these 43 inci­dents, fully 39 of them involved extrem­ists sport­ing some sort of extreme right-wing ide­ol­ogy. White suprema­cists took part in 21 inci­dents, while anti-government extrem­ists were involved in 17 more. An anti-Muslim extrem­ist was involved in one inci­dent (the other four inci­dents included one with a left-wing extrem­ist and three with domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists). In these shoot­ing inci­dents, the extrem­ists shot 30 offi­cers, 14 fatally. Many other offi­cers sus­tained non-gunfire injuries dur­ing some of these encounters.shooting-incidents-2009-2013-by-ideology

Extreme ide­olo­gies cause right-wing rad­i­cals directly to attack offi­cers. Anti-government extrem­ist such as mili­tia groups and sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that police are agents of the ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment, while white suprema­cists believe that police are tools of the “Jewish-controlled” gov­ern­ment. The same ide­olo­gies some­times cause extrem­ists to act out vio­lently when they ran­domly encounter police in rou­tine situations.

More­over, because right-wing extrem­ists fre­quently engage in crim­i­nal activity—both ide­o­log­i­cal and non-ideological, police respond­ing to reports of crim­i­nal activ­ity may encounter extrem­ists com­mit­ting a crime or who are fugi­tives from jus­tice. Such sit­u­a­tions can also fre­quently turn deadly.

Unfor­tu­nately, rel­a­tively few offi­cer safety courses incor­po­rate infor­ma­tion about the dan­gers to police from domes­tic extremists.

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July 31, 2013 0

Remembering the Hate Crime Victims at Oak Creek – And Acting

Update — August 5, 2013: ADL has joined a coali­tion of groups urg­ing the White House to also take steps to address religious-based vio­lence and discrimination.

On August 5, 2012, six Sikh wor­ship­pers were killed, and four oth­ers wounded, by a white suprema­cist skin­head at their Gur­d­wara in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin.  The shooter then turned his gun on him­self.  Less than a week after the tragedy, US Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder. Jr.  par­tic­i­pated in a memo­r­ial ser­vice for the vic­tims, stat­ing that the crime was “an act of ter­ror­ism, an act of hatred, a hate crime.”  sikh-temple-shooting-oak-creek-anniversary

Now, one year later, we observe the anniver­sary of this tragedy, hon­or­ing the mem­ory of the vic­tims by ele­vat­ing the fight against dis­crim­i­na­tion and hate crimes – and by work­ing to ensure that all places of wor­ship will be safe.

In the after­math of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks, our nation has expe­ri­enced a dis­turb­ing num­ber of back­lash attacks against Mus­lim, Sikhs, Arabs, and South Asians.  In fact, the first bias-motivated mur­der after 9/11 was Bal­bir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas sta­tion owner in Mesa, Arizona. 

After the Oak Creek Gur­d­wara mur­ders, ADL Chicago/Upper Mid­west Regional Office Direc­tor Lon­nie Nasatir par­tic­i­pated in a pro­gram in Oak Creek with the US Attor­ney and FBI offi­cials to show sup­port for the com­mu­nity and ADL pro­fes­sion­als across the coun­try reached out to Sikh orga­ni­za­tions to pro­vide resources on how to keep their com­mu­nity insti­tu­tions safe.

ADL has been the national leader in pro­mot­ing improved hate crime data col­lec­tion by law enforce­ment author­i­ties.  Since 2008, the League has sup­ported requir­ing the FBI to col­lect and report spe­cific data on hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus.  

The mur­ders at Oak Creek pro­vided addi­tional impe­tus to make this change.  And the issue was exam­ined and pro­moted in Sep­tem­ber 19 Sen­ate Judi­ciary Sub­com­mit­tee on the Con­sti­tu­tion, Civil Rights and Human Rights hear­ings on “Hate Crime and the Threat of Domes­tic Extrem­ism,” to which the League sub­mit­ted com­pre­hen­sive tes­ti­mony. 

Work­ing with Con­gres­sional cham­pi­ons, like Rep. Joseph Crow­ley, the League helped to coor­di­nate a coali­tion effort to urge the FBI to include these new hate crime data cat­e­gories as part of the Bureau’s annual hate crime report pre­pared under the 1990 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act.   In May, an FBI Advi­sory Pol­icy Board rec­om­mended that the Bureau take this action.  

As we com­mem­o­rate the first anniver­sary of the tragedy at Oak Creek, we can take some solace in know­ing that our com­mu­ni­ties have done some­thing pos­i­tive to address that hor­rific inci­dent.  Col­lect­ing spe­cific data on hate crimes directed against indi­vid­u­als will increase pub­lic aware­ness, encour­age vic­tims to report these crimes, and expand exist­ing engage­ment and rela­tion­ships between law enforce­ment author­i­ties and these com­mu­ni­ties. ADL has joined a coali­tion of groups urg­ing the White House to also take steps to address religious-based vio­lence and discrimination. 

Our atten­tion now turns to work­ing with the FBI and local law enforce­ment offi­cials to pro­vide train­ing and edu­ca­tion on these crimes.

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July 17, 2013 33

Ventura County Deputies Kill White Supremacist Who Pointed Handgun

daniel-houfek-deadline-skins

Daniel Houfek, at center

Deputies with the Ven­tura County, Cal­i­for­nia, Sheriff’s Depart­ment shot and killed a promi­nent local white suprema­cist, Daniel Cur­tis Houfek, 42, on the evening of July 12, fol­low­ing a short vehi­cle pur­suit and confrontation.

Houfek was one of the lead­ers of the Dead­line Fam­ily Skins (also known as Dead­line Skins or Skin­heads), a hard­core racist skin­head gang with around two dozen active mem­bers in the Santa Clarita area.  Mem­bers also oper­ate in the Ante­lope Val­ley and Ven­tura region.  Houfek, also known as “Danny Boy,” owned and oper­ated a tat­too par­lor, dubbed Dead­line Tat­too, in Ven­tura (often used as a meet­ing place for the group).  A num­ber of Dead­line Skins have tat­toos cour­tesy of Houfek, includ­ing tat­toos of the group’s logo and com­bat boots.

On July 12, the Ven­tura Sheriff’s Depart­ment received a call about a sus­pi­cious man sit­ting in a parked car near a Girl Scout lodge in Oak View.  Deputies found the vehi­cle, with Houfek in it, but Houfek sped off, lead­ing offi­cers on a brief vehi­cle chase.  Accord­ing to police, Houfek soon stopped his vehi­cle and exited it with a hand­gun.  The pur­su­ing deputies fired at Houfek after he allegedly pointed it at them, fatally wound­ing him.  He died at the scene.

This inci­dent is the 36th known shooting/shootout con­fronta­tion between extrem­ists and law enforce­ment offi­cers in the United States since 2009, accord­ing to Anti-Defamation League records.

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