I-Team Investigates Hate Group Growth In San Diego
Last Updated: 1381 days ago
Michael Lee's minivan was tagged with offensive hate speech as it was parked right outside his home.Lee is black and lives in a predominantly white east San Diego County neighborhood."It wasn't random, I'm certain of that," he told the 10News I-Team.The culprit of the hate crime was suspected to be 16-year-old white boy -- the ideal candidate young recruit for hate groups, experts said.The I-Team learned that hate groups are using music and Web sites as a way to attract 11 to 15 year olds."These guys are all over Facebbook, MySpace, YouTube," pointed out TJ Leyden.Leyden is a former racist skinhead, recruited at age 13 into the Western Hammerskins.The Western Hammerskins are the most violent skinhead group in the country, one of the many hate groups that have been recently energized."Obama was the best thing that ever happened to the white supremacy movement," Leyden pointed out.Leyden's old crew conducts business in San Diego, and the I-Team uncovered their P.O. Box at the U.S. Post Office in the Mission Valley Mall."That way you can't have their home address," said Leyden.The I-Team also found a P.O. Box in Fallbrook linked to a well-known hate group and a P.O. Box in Bonsall for the Aryan Women's League."California has more hate groups than any other state in the union by far," said Del Mar attorney James McElroy.McElroy works with the Southern Poverty Law Center tracking hate groups, several of which originated in San Diego County.It was former Ku Klux Klan member Tom Metzger who launched the neo-Nazi skinhead movement in Fallbrook, a group called W.A.R.Metzger has left San Diego, but he left his mark and his followers."A lot of his followers have gone on to other organizations," said McElroy.Ray Carney is one example. He worked for Metzger's W.A.R. group, as a computer programmer for 11 years.Carney is now linked to the high-profile group the Minutemen, which claims to fight illegal immigration. There are lots of Minutemen splinter groups, and Carney has been documented with the one run by Jeff Schwilk."He's a dangerous fellow," said McElroy.The I-Team obtained numerous photos taken at Minutemen events that show both Carney and Schwilk. Despite the pictures, Schwilk said Carney is not associated with his group and that his Minutemen is not a hate group.McElroy disagreed, and said, "In my opinion, any organization headed by him should be listed as a hate group."There are 84 hate groups in California, authorities said, and they've grown by 50 percent over the last decade.The Minutemen group is not listed as one of them.