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Tag: hate crime

Prosecutors File Hate Crime Charges Against Man Accused of Torching 3 Black Churches

Holden Matthews

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors have filed hate crime charges against the white man suspected of setting fire to three African American churches in Louisiana.

Authorities believe Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a sheriff’s deputy, was motivated by racism when he allegedly used gasoline to burn three historic black church in the St. Landry Parish over 10 days, The Associated Press reports.

On Monday, Matthews pleaded not guilty to the hate crimes and three counts of arson of a religious building. Worried Matthews is a flight risk, state District Judge James Doherty denied bail for Matthews, who had no previous criminal record.

“We felt that he was an immediate risk to public safety,” said Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning. “In my mind, I felt another fire was imminent.”

The ATF helped local authorities in the hunt for the culprit.

Matthews was charged after authorities said his cell phone records placed him at the arsons. Found on the phone were images of the three churches burning, the fire marshal said.

FBI Investigating Threatening Letter Sent to Jussie Smollett Before Brutal Attack

Jussie Smollett via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has joined the investigation into the alleged racist, homophobic attack that left Empire star Jussie Smollett in the hospital.

Police are investigating Tuesday’s brutal attack in Chicago as a “possible” hate crime after Smollett told authorities he was beaten by two white men in ski masks who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him. It appears the attackers also put a noose around the 35-year-old actor’s neck and poured an unknown substance, possibly bleach, on him, while yelling, “This is MAGA country.”

The FBI is involved because Smollett received a chilling letter in the mail that contained threatening language and a powdery substance that police believe was Tylenol.

The letter was sent to the Fox studio in Chicago on Jan. 22.

Smollett was treated and released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

FBI Investigating White Supremacists Who Attacked Black DJ at Tavern in Washington

Aryan Brotherhood tattoo via The Southern Poverty Law Center.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A black DJ was minding his own business at a Washington State tavern when a group of suspected white supremacists violently attacked him and shouted racial slurs.

Now the FBI is helping investigate what appears to be a vicious hate crime that occurred early Saturday in Lynnwood, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Police arrested seven men and woman after they say the group entered the Rec Room Bar and Grill and began stomping and beating the DJ. An Asian man who came to the DJ’s defense also was injured.

The DJ was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

“The violent behavior directed at members of our community over the weekend simply because of their race is disgusting,” Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said in a news release, the Associated Press reports. “The Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the FBI in hopes of getting the strongest sentencing possible for these hate crimes.” 

Court records indicate the suspects belong to the Aryan Brotherhood, a hate group with an ugly history of violence against African Americans.

FBI Investigating Weeks-Old Attack on City’s First Latino Mayor over Immigration

Burien Jimmy Matta

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Three weeks after the city of Burien’s first Latino mayor said he was attacked by a man angry about his policies supporting immigrants, no charges have been filed.

Now the FBI is stepping in after several law enforcement agencies have failed to charge the 62-year-old Burien man who Mayor Jimmy Matta said attacked him at a block party in this suburb city in King County, Washington.

Matta told police that a man in his 60s put him into a headlock and pulled him to the ground on July 21, whispering to the mayor, “We’re not going to let you Latino illegal take over our city,” the Seattle Times reported at the time. 

The attack is

Both the King County prosecuting attorney and state attorney general said they have conflicts of interest.

A spokesman for Attorney General Bob Ferguson said state prosecutors are waiting for the FBI to complete the investigation.

“We’re still waiting to receive the investigation file,” the spokesman said in an email to the Seattle Times.  “Hard to guess at a timeline when we’re not sure when we’ll get the file, but I’m sure the team will need some time with it to review the evidence before making a recommendation.”

Matta has been an outspoken supporter of making Burien a so-called sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.

Ex-FBI Agent: Charging Portland Suspect with Hate Crimes Is ‘Sticky’

Jeremy Christian

Jeremy Christian

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to determine whether federal charges are warranted in the case of the 35-year-old man who stabbed three people on a Portland train after yelling expletives at two women he believed to be Muslims.

Jeremy Christian has already been charged with aggravated murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a handgun.

But feds are investigating whether Christian also committed hate crimes and domestic terrorism.

“It will take some time for a review of information and evidence along with consultation with prosecutors to determine whether federal charges will be filed,” Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI told KATU News.

But a retired FBI agent told KATU those charges may be difficult to prove.

“Hating someone is not a crime,” Greg Vecchi, a retired FBI agent with 29 years of federal investigative experience said.

“You can hate someone, a Christian, a Muslim. You can hate someone who’s black, someone who’s white,” Vecchi said. “That by itself does not trigger the hate crime. What triggers it is taking it a step further and being able to prove that because of that bias that was a motivation or part of a motivation to carry out the crime. … This is where it becomes sticky.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigating If Fatal Stabbing of Black College Student Was Racially Motivated

Richard Collins, right, Sean Urbanski, left.

Richard Collins, right, Sean Urbanski, left.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the fatal stabbing of a black college student in Maryland after it was discovered the white suspect belonged to a racist Facebook group called “Alt-Reich.”

ABC News reports that 22-year-old Sean Urbanski, a student at University of Maryland, has been charged in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Richard Collins III, who was a U.S. Army officer.  

Calling the attack random and “totally unprovoked,” the university police requested the FBI’s assistance.

“New information obtained today from witnesses and other sources has led law enforcement officials to consider a hate-bias motive in this case,” University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said in a statement Sunday. “To ensure a comprehensive investigation, UMPD today asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide technical and forensic expertise, which it agreed to do.“

Collins, who was set to graduate from Bowie State University on Tuesday, was visiting UMD campus when he was stabbed by Urbanski, an apparent stranger.

FBI Helps American University Investigate Discovery of Bananas Hanging from Nooses

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping American University track down whoever hung bananas from nooses in multiple locations on campus.

Scrawled on the bananas was “AKA,” the acronym for the historically black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, NBC Washington reports

Incensed students are planning another day of demonstrations to urge the administration to find the culprit.

The FBI’s Civil Rights division is lending a hand because a racially motivated hate crime appears to have been committed.

The bananas were found on the same day that an AKA member became the university’s first black student government president.

Campus police distributed what they believe is the suspect walking alone on an empty campus between 3:45 a.m, and 4:10 a.m. Tuesday, when at least three bananas were hung in nooses on campus.

Black students threatened to withdrawal from school.

“If our existence isn’t valued on this campus, then we don’t need to be here,” student Ma’at Sargeant said Tuesday. 

FBI Investigates Shooting of Fourth Indian in 2 Weeks As Possible Hate Crime

police lights

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has joined the investigation into the whereabouts and identity of an attacker who shot a Sikh man after telling him to “go back to your own country” in Kent, Washington.

The victim, Deep Rai, is a U.S. national of Indian origin, Al Jazeera reports. 

In a separate incident on Feb. 22, a gunman shot two Indians in a Kansas City bar after the shooter reportedly yelled, “Get out of my country.” A few days later, a 43-year-old man of Indian origin was shot dead outside of his home in South Carolina.

Rai, the latest victim, told authorizes that he was approached while he worked on his car in his driveway and was shot by a man described as 6 feet tall and stocky build,

In a statement, the FBI said it’s “committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated.”