Saturday, November 17, 2007

Roanoke supremacist investigated

The Justice Department confirmed that it is still looking into a call to "Lynch the Jena 6."

By Laurence Hammack

A Roanoke white supremacist who used his Web site to advocate the lynching of the Jena Six defendants remains under investigation, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman said Friday.

While declining to elaborate, "I can say that it's an ongoing investigation," Erik Ablin wrote in an e-mail.

William White drew the scrutiny of federal authorities in September, when he posted on his Web site the names and addresses of six black teenagers charged with assaulting a white classmate in Jena, La., along with the words "Lynch the Jena 6."

Controversy over the Jena Six case continued to simmer Friday, as thousands of protestors surrounded the Justice Department headquarters in Washington to demand better enforcement of hate crimes.

Supporters of the six youths have criticized authorities for not prosecuting the white students who initiated racial unrest in Jena by hanging nooses from a tree on the high school campus. As the case gained national attention, the Justice Department came under increased fire for not bringing charges related to threats against blacks in Jena and elsewhere.

In a statement Friday, the Justice Department said it was investigating "dozens of noose-hangings and other recent racially-motivated threats around the country. Where the facts and the laws warrant, these investigations will result in prosecution."

Some legal scholars have said it appears White broke no laws when he made the addresses of the Jena Six available to anyone who, as he put it, might be "willing to deliver justice."

But Brian Levin, an attorney who heads the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said authorities may have a case under a federal law that makes it illegal to interfere with someone's civil rights.

White has said he was simply "expressing my point of view" and that he does not expect to be charged.

Meanwhile, the neo-Nazi activist faces assault charges in Roanoke related to an encounter with a black couple in the West End neighborhood where he owns more than a dozen rental houses.

LaToria Minnis claims in court papers that White approached her Oct. 10 as she walked on Chapman Avenue, taunted her with a racial slur and hit her in the face. Aries Brown says he witnessed the attack and was also assaulted by White when he tried to intervene.

White has filed cross warrants alleging that Minnis and Brown assaulted him.

The cases are scheduled for trial Dec. 7. If a judge finds that White assaulted Minnis or Brown because of their race, he could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Source: Roanoke

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