United States Department of Justice Hatecrimes July 2019 

Department of Justice Ohio 
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Ohio Man Sentenced to Prison for 30 Months for Hate Crime
Izmir Koch, 34, of Huber Heights, Ohio, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for beating a man he believed to be Jewish outside of a Cincinnati restaurant. 

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence.

Koch was convicted after a trial on Dec. 17, 2018, of one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act and one count of making a false statement to the FBI. 

On Feb. 4, 2017, the Defendant and his companions were heard yelling “I want to kill all of the Jews” and “I want to stab the Jews” outside a Cincinnati restaurant. The victim represented to Koch that he was Jewish, after which Koch began punching and kicking him. A number of other people joined in the assault. The victim was left with a broken facial bone and bruised ribs. The victim was not in fact Jewish, but was with friends and family members who were. 

After the incident, Koch, accompanied by his attorney, spoke voluntarily with the FBI.  Koch falsely told the FBI that he was not involved in the assault and that he made no derogatory comments about Jews.

“Individuals should be able to live without fear of attack or intimidation based on their religious beliefs,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.  “Prosecuting hate crimes is a top priority for the Department of Justice and as this sentence today demonstrates, we will not back down from obtaining justice for victims of violence based on hate.”

“Hate-fueled violent crimes ripple through communities, making entire groups feel unsafe and unwelcome, spawning fear and anger,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “That is why investigating and prosecuting hate crimes is such a high priority. Every community -- every person -- is entitled to the equal protection of the laws.”

"The FBI aggressively investigates hate crime incidents and works closely with impacted communities," stated FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Todd A. Wickerham. "Each day we strive to protect civil rights and hold accountable those who violate the rights of others."

This case was investigated by the Cincinnati Division of the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Megan Gaffney of the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

For more information about Department of Justice’s work to combat and prevent hate crimes, visit www.justice.gov/hatecrimes: a one-stop portal with links to Department of Justice hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other organizations and individuals.
Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Hate Crimes
Component(s): 
Civil Rights Division
USAO - Ohio, Southern
Press Release Number: 
19-743

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Arizona Man Sentenced for Threatening Harvard Black Commencement Attendees in 2017
Defendant posted internet threats to shoot attendees and bomb Harvard University
BOSTON – An Arizona man was sentenced today in connection with posting threats to bomb Harvard and shoot attendees at the Black Commencement event held in May 2017. 

Nicholas Zuckerman, 25, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In February 2019, Zuckerman pleaded guilty to two counts of transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another.

“The divisiveness of our public discourse does not excuse making any group of people feel unsafe,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “We will investigate all threats that cross the line of free speech and infringe on the safety and security of members of our community, especially when those threats are based on race or other immutable characteristics.”

“It’s sadly ironic that Nicholas Zuckerman would turn his chilling threats of mass destruction and vile words against graduates at Harvard University, an institution that has molded some of our greatest orators. Let today’s sentence serve as a lesson to all that no hate monger hiding behind a social-media pseudonym can stop others from celebrating the diversity of some of our area’s best and brightest minds,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.

On or about May 13, 2017, Zuckerman commented on a post published to Harvard University’s Instagram account, saying: “If the blacks only ceremony happens, then I encourage violence and death at it.  I’m thinking two automatics with extendo clips.  Just so no n***** gets away.”  It is further alleged that on that same date, Zuckerman posted a comment to another Harvard Instagram post, saying: “#bombharvard and end their pro-black agenda.” Several minutes later, Zuckerman commented “#bombharvard” on other users’ posts approximately 11 times over a span of four minutes. 

A concerned citizen who saw the posts reported them to the Harvard University Police, who ultimately referred the case to federal authorities.

U.S. Attorney Lelling, FBI SAC Bonavolonta, and Harvard University Chief of Police Francis D. Riley made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anne Paruti and Scott Garland of Lelling’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team prosecuted the case.
Topic(s): 
Hate Crimes
Component(s): 
USAO - Massachusetts
Updated July 17, 2019

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Man Allegedly Makes Phone Threats to Pride Parade; Investigators Track and Link Him to Unsolved Bank Robberies
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – July 17, 2019

SAN DIEGO – A man who allegedly threatened to “kill all the gays and children” at the San Diego Pride parade was charged today with three bank robberies after San Diego Police detectives and FBI agents linked him to both the threats and the robberies dating back to 2016.

According to a federal complaint, Andre Lafayette Holmes robbed US Bank on Campo Road in Spring Valley on November 4, 2016; Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego on June 14, 2018, and California Bank and Trust on Fifth Avenue, also in San Diego, on June 28, 2019. In the first crime he claimed to have a gun; in the second and third robberies he pointed a pistol at tellers, the complaint said.

FBI agents identified Holmes as the armed bank robber in three unsolved cases following threats he made to the San Diego Pride Parade organizers on July 10, 2019. In the first of two late-morning phone calls to pride organizers’ main line, a caller stated: “I think I’m going to have to kill all the gays and the children.” He then repeated, “I’m going to have to kill the f------ and children.” The employee asked, “Sir, what’s your name?” The caller replied: “I don’t like them” and “I hate the f------.” He then hung up. About four minutes later, he called back. “F--- Donald Trump. I hate Hillary. I hate f---. I’m going to shoot up the Pride event.” The male caller repeated the same statement approximately four times.

On July 11, San Diego Police Department investigators identified the phone number as belonging to Holmes. They determined that Holmes drives a 2009 Toyota minivan registered in his name. They located Holmes near Miramar College and conducted a traffic stop. He was in possession of the phone from which the threats were made, the complaint said.

During subsequent searches of Holmes residence and vehicle, investigators discovered evidence of the armed bank robberies, including a gray semi-automatic pistol, a rubber “old man” style mask, a large bag of cash and clothing believed worn by the bank robber, among other things. They also found a Big Gulp 7-Eleven mug consistent with the one used during two of the robberies.

In the first robbery, the complaint alleges that Holmes used a demand note which said: “We have guns! I will personally shoot anyone you alert! Don’t make me jump over the counter and kill innocent people. Big bills only and I’ll calmly leave. Money now!!!!” On the back of the note, it said: “I’m sorry, good man on hard times. Sincerely, Bank Robber.”

In the second robbery at Mission Federal Credit Union, Holmes pulled a semi-automatic pistol from his pocket and pointed it at a teller and demanded money, the complaint said. He then proceeded to demand money from a second teller. In the third robbery, Holmes again had a light-colored semiautomatic pistol and verbally demanded money.

Authorities are presently evaluating further charges for Holmes’ threats to the San Diego Pride Parade.

DEFENDANT                                                Case Number 19mj2977                                          

Andre Lafayette Holmes                                Age: 31                                   San Diego, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Bank Robbery – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2113(a)

Maximum penalty: 20 years

Armed Bank Robbery – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2113(a) & (d)

Maximum penalty: 25 years

Brandishing a Firearm in Commission of Crime of Violence – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 924(c)

Maximum penalty: Life in prison;

Consecutive Mandatory Minimum: 7 years

AGENCY

Federal Bureau of Investigation

San Diego Police Department

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

####

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 19, 2019
Three Members of California-Based White Supremacist Group Sentenced on Riots Charges Related to August 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville
Charlottesville, VIRGINIA – Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis, and Thomas Gillen, members of the white-supremacist organization formerly known as the Rise Above Movement (RAM), were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville for violence they committed as part of their conspiracy to riot, including at the August 2017 Unite the Riot Rally in Charlottesville, and other alleged political rallies in California. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Special Agent in Charge David W. Archey of the FBI’s Richmond Division, and Colonel Gary T. Settle of the Virginia State Police.

Daley, 26, of Torrance, Calif., was sentenced today to 37 months in prison. Gillen, 25, of Redondo Beach, was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Miselis, 30, of Lawndale, Calif., was sentenced to 27 months in prison. A fourth defendant, Cole Evan White, will be sentenced at a future date. All four defendants previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to riot.

“These defendants, motivated by hateful ideology, incited and committed acts of violence in Charlottesville, as well at other purported political rallies in California,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today.  “They were not interested in peaceful protest or lawful First Amendment expression; instead, they intended to provoke and engage in street battles with those that they perceived as their enemies.  I am grateful for the diligence and hard work of the FBI and Virginia State Police in bringing these violent white supremacists to justice.”

“The sentences imposed today demonstrate the U.S. Government’s intolerance of the use of violence, by anyone, to infringe upon the right of others to assemble peacefully,” Special Agent in Charge Archey of the FBI said today. “The FBI applauds today’s sentences and will continue to aggressively investigate allegations of such activity with its law enforcement partners.  We are grateful for the efforts and partnership of the Office of the U.S. Attorney and the Virginia State Police in this investigation.”

“Thanks to the concerted and dedicated efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Virginia, justice has been served this week for multiple individuals who perpetrated the violence and extreme hate witnessed during the events of August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Every one of their sentences should stand as evidence that Virginia has zero tolerance for such criminal activity.” 

According to court documents, Daley, Gillen, and Miselis, were members of RAM, a now-defunct, California-based, combat-ready, militant group that represented itself as part of the new nationalist and white supremacy movement. RAM openly identified as “alt-right” and “nationalist” and its members and associates frequently posted photographs and videos online of themselves engaging in physical training and mixed martial arts street-fighting techniques, along with messages and propaganda related to their alt-right, anti-Semitic, and white-supremacist views.  RAM members and associates espoused and committed acts of violence against those who they believed held opposing political views.

From March 2017 to August 2017, RAM and its members, including Daley, Gillen, and Miselis, traveled to multiple political rallies and organized demonstrations in Virginia and California where they prepared to, and engaged in, acts of violence.  RAM regularly held hand-to-hand and other combat training for members and associates to prepare to engage in violent confrontations with protestors and other individuals at purported political rallies.  They attended these rallies with the intention of provoking physical conflict with counter-protestors, which they believed would justify their use of force against the counter-protestors and shield them from prosecution for their acts of violence.  Daley, Gillen, and Miselis attended several such training events and rallies.

On March 25, 2017, Daley, Gillen, and Miselis attended a political rally in Huntington Beach, Calif., with several RAM members.  At that event, several RAM members pursued and assaulted groups of protestors and other individuals.  Following the rally, photographs depicting RAM members assaulting protestors and other individuals were covered on local news stations and on the “front page” of various Neo-Nazi and white-supremacist websites.  RAM members celebrated this coverage and used the internet to post statements, photographs, and videos of the assaults committed by RAM members at this rally to recruit members to engage in violent confrontations at future events.

On April 15, 2017, Daley, Gillen, Miselis, and other RAM members attended a rally in Berkeley, Calif.  The defendants and other RAM members were dressed in gray clothing, goggles, and black scarfs or masks to cover the lower half of their faces. Throughout the day, there were violent clashes between some rally attendees and individuals protesting the rally.  At one point, RAM members, including Daley and Miselis, crossed a barrier separating the attendees and the protestors, and assaulted protestors and other individuals.

In August 2017, Daley, Gillen, and Miselis planned to travel to Charlottesville to attend the Unite the Right Rally.  At the time of their travel, the defendants expected the event would become a riot and that their experience in riots at Huntington Beach and Berkeley would be valuable.

On August 11, 2017, the evening prior to the scheduled Unite the Right Rally, Daley, Gillen, and Miselis, and other members of RAM, joined hundreds of individuals in a torch-lit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  Throughout the march, participants chanted, “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!”  The march culminated near a statue of Thomas Jefferson where a small group of students gathered to protest white supremacy.  Violence erupted among the crowd, with some punching, kicking, spraying chemical irritants and swinging torches.  During and in furtherance of this riot, Daley punched multiple individuals. As part of their pleas, the defendants admitted these actions were not in self-defense.

On the morning of August 12, 2017, Daley, Gillen, and Miselis, and other members of RAM, with their hands wrapped in white athletic tape, were part of a large group of over 40 individuals seeking entry into Emancipation Park by way of Second Street when they were told by law enforcement to enter at a different location.  The group, including Daley, Gillen, Miselis, and other RAM members, turned, lined up, and began to make their way through a group of over 20 individuals who had come to the rally to protest against discrimination.  As they made their way through the group of protestors, the RAM members collectively pushed, punched, kicked, chocked, head-butted, and otherwise assaulted several individuals, resulting in a riot.  As part of their pleas, the defendants admitted these actions were not in self-defense.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia State Police.  United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, and Assistant United States Attorney Justin Lugar are prosecuting the case for the United States.
Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
USAO - Virginia, Western
Updated July 19, 2019
 
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