Hate Speech, Incitement and Hate Crimes in the U.S.

 Hate Speech, Incitement and Hate Crimes in the U.S.

January 2004 – April 2012

  • April 15, 2005 – On the nationally-syndicated Westwood One radio program, The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly, O’Reilly agreed with a caller that illegal immigration “has the same impact as a major terrorist attack” that surpasses the impact of 9-11, and that immigrants are “biological weapon[s].”
  • March 2006 – Neo-Nazi radio host Hal Turner made an appeal on his web-site for people to carry out the mass murder of any “illegal aliens” sighted. “All of you who think there’s a peaceful solution to these invaders are wrong. We’re going to have to start killing these people. I advocate using extreme violence against illegal aliens. Clean your guns. Have plenty of ammunition. Find out where the largest gathering of illegal aliens will be near you. Go to the area well in advance, scope out several places to position yourself and then do what has to be done.”  Turner posted a link to the site “Ka-Fucking Boom!” that provides detailed information on how to make explosive devices. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/extremists-advocate-murder-of-immigrants-politicians
  • March 27, 2006 – Michael Savage made an attempt to evoke fear in his listeners when he stated that Americans are “being displaced by the people of Mexico. This is an invasion.  The illegal aliens come here not to work, but to work the system, sell drugs, rape and kill on contract.”
  • April 2006 – A high school student identified only as Felipe was attacked in Salt Lake City, Utah while walking to school by two white men who called him a “stupid wetback” and told him: “Go back to your country, you don’t belong here.”
  • April 2, 2006 – In Harris County, Texas 16-year-old David Ritcheson, a Mexican American, was attacked by skinheads at a house party. The attackers broke his jaw and knocked him unconscious while screaming, “White power!” and calling Ritcheson a “spic” and a “wetback.” The attackers then burned Ritcheson with cigarettes, kicked him with steel-toed boots, attempted to carve a swastika into his chest, poured bleach on him, and violently sodomized him with a patio umbrella pole. Ritcheson underwent 30 surgeries before he was able to return to school, still confined to a wheelchair and wearing a colostomy bag. Ritcheson committed suicide on July 1, 2007.
  • April 10, 2006 – Michael Savage animalized illegal aliens when he called them “vermin.”
  • July 30, 2006 – Jordan Gruver, a 16-year-old boy of Panamanian and Native-American descent, was attacked in Bradenburg, Kentucky, by members of a Ku Klux Klan group because the Klansmen mistakenly thought he was an illegal Latino immigrant. The men called the boy a “spic,” and then beat him severely, leaving him with two cracked ribs, a broken left forearm, and jaw injuries requiring extensive dental repair.
  • August 20, 2006 – Mark Gautreau shot two Latino men in the legs as they fished near Hahnville, Louisiana. Witnesses said the Gautreau announced he was going to “shoot some Mexicans” before pulling out a shotgun. Gautreau is booked on two counts of first-degree attempted murder as a hate crime.
  • 2007 – Although the number of hate crime offenses based on ethnicity or national origin has remained the same since 2003, anti-Hispanic bias as a motivating factor for such crimes has risen from 42.8% in 2003 to 61.6% in 2007.
  • September 1, 2007 – On KGEZ-AM in Montana, John Stokes advocated that those who do not speak English should have their hands chopped off.  He went on to pontificate that “Romans 15:19 says that if they break into your country, chop off their leg.  We have to forcibly get rid of them!” These statements clearly urged listeners to regard all Latinos – including their fellow citizens – as “enemies” and suitable objects of physical violence.
  • February 15, 2008 – Why Do I Hate Spics?, appearing on the first page of search results, which states “[E]very spic has nigger blood in them, and you all already know I hate niggers. Spics steal shit and rape little children. They are trying to take over America by planting their spic seed in it. I can’t stand to see spics and my people (the better race) with these spics. Not only does it add more spics to their race but takes away from ours. Let me tell you all. Spics are not whites. They are more niggers than anything. Let them breed with the niggers and destroy their race amongst themselves. Spics are causing problems in this country.”
  • August 4, 2008 – Michael Savage claimed that “illegal immigrants[] are running rampant,” and added, “the Statue of Liberty is crying…she’s been…raped and disheveled by illegal aliens . . . We have to fend for ourself [sic] because the government is not protecting us.”
  • August 14, 2008 – Michael Savage stated that “America is being overrun by an invasion force fromMexico…Is it racist to protect your nation against an invading horde, from another nation that wants to sweep you off the map?… And you think the gang banger with baggy pants is going to pay for your retirement…? [Y]ou’re digging your own grave…[a]ll that’s missing is the worm from the tequila bottle to go with it.”
  • January 28, 2009 – The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) filed a Petition for Inquiry at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking it to examine hate speech in media, and a letter at the NTIA, asking it to update its 1993 report, The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes. The 1993 Report expressed concern that “the media may create an atmosphere that encourages and legitimizes violence against minority groups,” and concluded that the “United States should take steps to combat all forms of prejudice and discrimination, not just those that culminate in a crime, while retaining the virtues of robust debate necessary for a pluralistic society.”
  • January 29, 2009 – Preliminary findings released from the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) revealed 334 instances of hate speech in just two of the three 40-minute segments, largely targeting foreign nationals, racial and ethnic minorities, and religious individuals and institutions on one 40-minute uninterrupted segment from each of the talk radio shows of Lou Dobbs, Michael Savage, and John Kobylt and Kenneth Chiampu.
  • April 2009 – Richard Poplawski, for his part, allegedly shot three police officers to death after his mother called them to the Pittsburgh home they shared. “Rich, like myself, loved Glenn Beck,” Eddie Perkovic, Poplawski’s best friend told reporter Will Bunch of Media Matters, among others. Prior to the shooting, Poplawski reportedly was “obsessed” with two of Beck’s pet theories: that there is an imminent food crisis and that paper money will soon be worthless. Poplawski worried that the government planned to intern dissidents in concentration camps.
  • April 7, 2009 – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an extremism assessment; the assessment reported that extremists “have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruiting tool” and that “anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups” and “has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence.” Rush Limbaugh decried the report, saying, “There is not one instance they can cite as evidence where any of these right-wing groups have done anything.”
  • May 31, 2009 – Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in Wichita, Kansas, while serving as an usher at church; Tiller had been repeatedly referred to as “Dr. Tiller the Baby Killer” on mainstream media outlets.
  • June 11, 2009 – White supremacist James von Brunn shot and killed an African American security guard at the Holocaust museum inWashington,DC; hateful messages against Jews and African Americans were found in von Brunn’s vehicle.
  • July 2, 2009 – Forty civil rights and public interest organizations requested that the FCC act on NHMC’s petition for inquiry.
  • July 28, 2009 – Neo-Nazi radio host Hal Turner was arrested for his Internet postings encouraging violence against three 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges; the postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of the judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location; Turner wrote, “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed.”
  • August 11, 2009 – Forty organizations submitted a joint letter to the NTIA, requesting that it update its 1993 report on The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes.
  • Late August/Early September 2009 – Glenn Beck’s advertisers fled from his cable news program after learning that their money was supporting Beck’s racist tirades.
  • November 11, 2009 – Lou Dobbs resigned from CNN after Latino groups organized to pressure CNN to either make Dobbs return to credible journalism or to fire him.
  • December 2009 – Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced a bill for comprehensive immigration reform.
  • January 2010 – According to SPLC’s latest statistics, “there are 932 hate groups operating across the country, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, border vigilantes and others.” According to SPLC’s “Hate Map,” every U.S. state has at least one known hate group, and most states have many more than one. The number of hate groups in the U.S. has grown by 54% since 2000, and the six states with the most hate groups include Texas (66), California (60), Florida (51), New Jersey (44), Georgia and Tennessee (both with 37). This growth in extremism has been aided by mainstream media figures and politicians who have used their platforms to legitimize false propaganda about immigrants and other minorities and spread the kind of paranoid conspiracy theories on which militia groups thrive.
  • February 2010 – More than a year has passed since NHMC requested that the FCC and NTIA examine the relationship between hate speech and hate crimes. During the agencies’ delay countless Latinos have been killed and maimed. As Congress takes up immigration reform this year, Latinos across the country are left to live in fear in the dramatic increase in violence.
  • April 26, 2010 – A candidate in Iowa’s 3rd District Congressional primary was quoted in the Cedar Rapids Gazette: “I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going,” said Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician. “I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?”
  • May 7, 2010 – NHMC filed comments in the FCC’s proceeding on the Future of Media and Information Needs of Communities in the Digital Age. Joined by thirty-two national and regional organizations from throughout the country, we reiterated and reinforced the need for the FCC to act on our petition.
  • June 11, 2010 – WTVN-AM (610) in Ohio has apologized for insensitive language it used to promote a trip giveaway to Phoenix after Columbus’ mayor suspended city travel to Arizona to protest a new immigration law, according to city and community representatives. The promotion, which ran in May, characterized Phoenix as a city “where Americans are proud and illegals are scared.” It also suggested that the winner could spend the weekend “chasing aliens.”
  • July 2010 – Kenneth B. Kimbley Jr. of Spirit Lake, Idaho, faces prison time for interpreting Beck’s rants as a call to action. Kimbley claims to be the leader of the Brotherhood of America Patriots, an extreme-right militia whose mission, he says, is to “resist in the event the government started rounding up the patriots” and to stand up in the face of foreign invasions or societal breakdowns. (Authorities believe Kimbley’s group was tiny.) At the time of his arrest in July, Kimbley had 20,000 rounds of ammunition, a stock of firearms, and materials he planned to use to construct grenades, according to court documents. “In fact, everything said by Mr. Kimbley is no different than what his idol, TV commentator Glenn Beck, typically states on the air,” public defender Kim Deater wrote in court papers.
  • July 18, 2010 – Abelino Mazaniego, 47, was sitting on a Summit, New Jersey park bench after finishing his shift at a nearby restaurant when two teens ran up, threw a sheet over him and began pummeling the El Salvadorian immigrant with their fists. The father and husband never regained consciousness after suffering severe head trauma, and he died on July 20th.


  • September 22, 2010 – Andrew Conley, a teenager from Indiana, pleaded guilty to murdering his 10-year-old brother, citing he wanted to be just like the TV serial killer “Dexter.” Conley told police he felt like the fictional character after killing his brother.
  • November 18, 2009 – Nikki Nicholson, an active member of many Tea Party groups tweeted @erikagrispino: “I am all for LEGAL immigration, and you people should feel lucky that we don’t chop hands off or kill illegals.”
  • January 12, 2010 – During an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball, Media Matters President and CEO David Brock accused Glenn Beck of being “responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year.” Indeed, in each of the three examples Brock cited — Gregory Giusti, Charles Wilson, and Byron Williams — the incendiary and often violent rhetoric spewed by the Fox News host and elsewhere on the network was said to be a motivating factor and may have led to the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).
  • February 5, 2011 – Alabama State Sen. Scott Beason (R) gave a speech at the Cullman County Republican Party breakfast on the topic of immigration and how he believes lawmakers can resolve the issue. Beason ended his speech by advising Republicans to “empty the clip, and do what has to be done” to stop undocumented immigrants from destroying theU.S. economy.
  • March 14, 2011 – Kansas Republican Suggests Shooting Illegal Immigrants From Helicopters. The Lawrence Journal World reported a legislator said Monday it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled — with hunters shooting from helicopters. State Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said he was just joking, but that his comment did reflect frustration with the problem of illegal immigration. Peck made his comment came during a discussion by the House Appropriations Committee on state spending for controlling feral swine. After one of the committee members talked about a program that uses hunters in helicopters to shoot wild swine, Peck suggested that may be a way to control illegal immigration. Kansas politics blog Dome On The Range has the quote and the audio: It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem. Peck declined to apologize for his comment, telling the Journal World, “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person.”
  • May 12, 2011 – A 32-year-old Utah Valley University (UVU) student was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kill aUniversity ofUtah professor over his stance on immigration. FBI agents arrested Aaron Michael Heineman as he walked out of a painting class. Heineman is accused of sending an email to the professor containing racist rants, profanity, and graphic details of how he would be killed with a bowie knife and noose. The professor sent the e-mail to police May 3. According to court records, the suspect said “he was just expressing himself through his poems about his anger toward people who are againstAmerica, and those who try to kill democracy and support illegal immigrants.” Agents found concealed weapons permits fromUtah andFlorida in the suspect’s apartment, according to the complaint. The suspect also is suspected of sending similar e-mails to anotherUniversity ofUtah professor, and theInclusionCenter for Community and Justice atWestminsterCollege.
  • June 14, 2011 – On the Neal Boortz Show, which is a Cox Radio Syndicated show, Neal Boortz told listeners to kill thugs who he described as “littering the landscape in Atlanta.” He goes on to say, “…This town is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I’ll tell you what it’s gonna take. You people, you are – you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city. And let their mommas say he was a good boy. He just fell in with the good crowd. And then lock her ass up.”
  • January 25, 2012 – A website called “Target of Opportunity” (motto: “Eliminating the planet of liberals one at a time”) has created a “Hit List” profiling supposed liberal enemies ofAmerica. “This website is a list and record of people that betray and endangerAmerica by their Seditious, Treasonous, and/or Terrorist activities,” its homepage reads. “Operating under the false illusion of Peaceful and Non-Violent activism, their methods are anything but Peaceful and Non-Violent. These people present a serious threat to all Americans. Each and every one of them should be considered a “TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY.” Beyond lies a mission statement proclaiming the website’s devotion to “fighting Terrorism and the forced integration of Marxist oriented ideas and values into the American mainstream,” and a “Hit List” of “groups and people that pose a considerable threat to the citizens ofAmerica.” The rest of the website is devoted to “educating” newcomers about the “liberal threat.” One section lists “Anti-American, Racist, and Terrorist” websites, from which readers can get to know the “enemy.”


  • April 3, 2006 – One of the founding members of the Minuteman movement, Laine Lawless, exhorted the leadership of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) to launch a campaign of violence and intimidation against Latino immigrants in Tucson, AZ. “Steal the money from any illegal walking into a bank or check cashing place. … Discourage Spanish-speaking children from going to school,” Lawless wrote in a private E-mail to Mark Martin, “SS commander” of the NSM”s western Ohio chapter. “Be creative… Create an anonymous propaganda campaign warning that any further illegal immigrants will be shot, maimed or seriously messed-up upon crossing the border. Make every illegal alien feel the heat of being a person without status.”
  • June 12, 2009 – Minutemen leader Shawna Forde murdered 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in Arivaca, AZ; Forde broke into their home dressed as a law enforcement officer, looking for money and drugs to finance her vigilante border watch group.
  • April 23, 2010 – Arizona’s passage of SB 1070 has spurred controversy and caused some to go so far as to urge that “all good patriots” should “protect themselves against the dangerous invaders” and “lock and load.”
  • May 6, 2010 – Juan Varela was killed by his neighbor, Gary Thomas Kelley, 50, in Phoenix, AZ, reportedly due to the tensions surrounding SB 1070. Kelley allegedly shouted racial epithets and fatally shot Varela.
  • June 10, 2010 – Five undocumented immigrants were ambushed by two camouflage-clad gunmen near the dead end of Peck Canyon Drive in Rio Rico. One of the men, Manuel Esquer Gomez, 45, was shot in the arm as the group fled. Another undocumented immigrant has been shot in Santa CruzCounty. A similar incident occurred on July 2nd when Jose Enedion Acosta-Amaniego, 28, was shot in the back by unidentified assailants as he was walking through a canyon area west of Rio Rico.
  • July 10, 2010 – Arizona Republican Sheriff and frequent Fox News guest Paul Babeu appeared on the openly “pro-white” Political Cesspool radio program to defend the Arizona immigration law and criticize President Obama for undermining the “rule of law and intentionally undermining law enforcement.” During the program, Babeu invited the show down to Arizona, and told listeners of the white nationalist program that they can apply for his department’s “posse” program.
  • July 29, 2010 – Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., has closed his Yuma district office for the day after staff discovered that a bullet had shattered a window. The incident occurred on the day that Arizona’s controversial new immigration law had been scheduled to go into effect. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on July 28 granted a preliminary injunction that blocked key parts of the measure, commonly known as Senate Bill 1070. Grijalva has been an outspoken critic of the law. On April 23, the day Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the legislation, Grijalva closed his Tucson and Yuma offices early due to threats.
  • January 8, 2011 – Six people died and thirteen were injured in the Saturday morning shooting at a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store parking lot, in which Jared Lee Loughner specifically targeted Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords was shot in the head, and the shooting continued until citizens tackled the Loughner. Pima County, Ariz., sheriff Clarence Dupnik suggested to a national audience that radio and TV vitriol could have been a factor in the killing spree. He spoke of “all the vitriol we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech,” Dupnik said, but that vitriol and political rhetoric “is not without consequence.”
  • April 8, 2012 – A Latino man and a 12-year-old child were shot and killed when a group of men wearing camouflage ambushed their pickup truck. Sheriff’s Deputy Dawn Barkman told local news outlets that the shooting occurred in Eloy, about 60 miles north of Tucson. He added that the victims were traveling with a larger group in a wash, commonly used for human smuggling, when an unknown number of men armed with rifles began firing. Several others who survived were hiding in the brush nearby. The Tucson Sentinel reported that on Jan. 27, 2007, four men wearing military-style berets and camouflage clothing shot at a group of undocumented immigrants in a vehicle traveling through an Eloy farm field.


  • August 2007 – Felipe Alvarado was taunted with racist threats and then attacked by three men, one carrying a loaded gun, in Garden Grove, California. The men were arrested and charged with felony assault with hate crime enhancements for allegedly beating Alvarado after yelling, among other things, “Go back to Mexico, you wetback!”
  • July 18, 2010 – Byron Williams got into a 15 minute shootout with California Highway patrol following a stop for speedingIn an affidavit, an Oakland police investigator reported that during an interview at the hospital, Williams “stated that his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.” Williams admitted, I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that [Glen]Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.” Williams also pointed to other media figures — right-wing propagandist David Horowitz, and Internet conspiracist and repeated Fox News guest Alex Jones — as key sources of information to inspire his “revolution.” According to the SPLC’s 2009 report, the anti-government resurgence has been buttressed by paranoid rhetoric from public officials like Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and media figures like Fox News’ Glenn Beck.


  • September 1, 2011 – Kobylt and Chiampou, hosts of the KFI’s “The John and Ken Show,” aired the personal cell phone number of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera, who received hundreds of threatening calls as a result. Such rhetoric has struck a chord with some advertisers of the program, including prominent national corporations AT&T and Verizon, both of whom pulled their ads from the show in October 2011. Los Angeles area grocery store chains Vons and Ralphs also pulled their ads from the program.
  • March 21, 2012 – Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, died of a severe head injury after she was taken off life support in El Cajon, California, Police Chief Jim Redman said at a news conference. The note next to her severely beaten body read “go back to your country, you terrorist,” according to her daughter.


  • August 23, 2007 – Victor Hernandez was kicked into unconsciousness by teenagers who robbed him of $160 while he was walking home from work in Montgomery County, Maryland. The two teens arrested told police they were “amigo shopping” – looking for vulnerable Hispanic workers to rob. Following the attack, The Washington Post reported on “alarmingly common” anti-immigrant crimes in the area of Washington, D.C., and its suburbs. Police from Montgomery County and other neighboring counties told the newspaper that the majority of local robbery victims since 2006 have been Latino.
  • August 21, 2010 – Baltimore police arrested Jermaine Holley, 19. Police said detectives arrested Holley in connection with the robbery and fatal beating of a 51-year-old Hispanic man, Martin Reyes who was beaten to death by a wooden plank. BaltimoreCity police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police are investigating at least five violent incidents against Hispanics on the city’s southeast side in the past two weeks. Investigators said they do not believe there are common assailants in the various cases.


  • June 12, 2006 – In Rocky Point, NY, two Mexican men fishing at a jetty were asked for their green cards, and then beaten and robbed by four teenagers posing as federal agents. The teens took money from the victims while accusing them of stealing jobs from U.S. citizens. All four are charged with felony robbery and assault as hate crimes.


  • July 12, 2008 – Teenage perpetrators in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania beat 25-year-old Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala to death, called him a “spic” and yelled things like: “This is Shenandoah. This is America. Go back to Mexico.” According to witnesses, the perpetrators punched Mr. Ramirez in the head, knocking him down and causing him to hit his head on the roadway. They then collectively kicked him to the point where he was foaming at the mouth and convulsing so feverishly that “he was bouncing off the ground.”
  • August 30, 2008 – Javier Alcala Jr., 21, was beaten by three men who duct-taped and blindfolded him inShenandoah,Pennsylvania. According to Mr. Alcala, three skinheads beat him on the head with a metal object, bound and blindfolded him with duct tape, and then tortured him. He says the men used a drill and a torch to terrorize him.  He was beaten unconscious, and suffered a head injury, damaged teeth, bruises, and an arm injury.


  • May 7, 2010 – Seattle Police are investigating an officer for allegedly beating a man wrongfully accused of robbery. A video obtained by local news outlets, shows Officer Shandy Cobane stomping on a Hispanic man yelling “I’m going to beat the f*cking Mexican piss out of you homey. You feel me?” The man repeatedly said he had nothing to do with the robbery, despite being accosted by the police.
  • July 4, 2010 – An Auburn man who police say sent more than 230 ranting emails to Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, many containing threats against Mexican immigrants, has been charged with malicious harassment after he reportedly pointed a gun at his neighbors. Thomas Hanson, 63, is accused of pointing a gun at Sergio Zapata-Zurita’s family on the night of July 4, according to charging documents. Auburn police found four rifles and six handguns inside Hanson’s trailer, several of which were loaded, prosecutors said.
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