February 5, 2002, Washington. Prosecutors in Asotin County charge Matthew E. White of Lewiston with malicious harassment and second-degree assault following an incident in which White and two other men, self-professed skinheads, allegedly hit a black man with a baseball bat in Clarkston (see January 25 Washington entry). He is not arrested, however, until February 13.
February 6, 2002, Tennessee. Michael Edward Smith is indicted in Nashville on multiple counts following his arrest the previous month after police spotted him with a rifle outside a Nashville synagogue. He is charged with possessing firearms in a school zone, possessing 25 destructive devices, making 21 destructive devices, and transporting unregistered firearms and explosives across state lines. After Smith's apprehension, he led them to an arsenal of weapons and explosives hidden in various places, including an anti-tank rocket, 13 pipe bombs, and 11 hand grenades. Smith has been linked to several white supremacist groups, including the National Alliance and the Ku Klux Klan.
February 7, 2002, California. Dentist Donald Wishart of San Jose is convicted in federal court on fraud charges for trying to repay a mortgage and a $1.3 million tax debt with bogus money orders obtained from the Montana Freemen. He also placed bogus liens on the property of IRS agents dealing with the case. Wishart is found guilty of tax violations, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice.
February 8, 2002, Utah. The Utah Supreme Court upholds the death sentence for Troy Kell, an admitted white supremacist who stabbed another prisoner 67 times. Kell, already serving two life sentences for murder, killed a black inmate in the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah, in an assault caught on videotape. The video showed Kell yelling "white power" after the stabbing while other inmates cheered.
February 14, 2002, California. A federal grand jury indicts twelve members and associates of the Nazi Low Riders, a white supremacist prison gang based largely in California. The indictment claims that members of the group committed acts of violence to spread white supremacy and to control the drug traffic among white inmates in California state prisons, including 19 attempted murders inside prisons and one 1996 murder outside the prison system. One of those indicted is Joseph Lowery, described as one of the highest-ranking Nazi Low Riders "who has orchestrated numerous violent acts throughout California's prisons and jails." Other indicted leaders include Michael Bridge, Brian Roberg, Jeffrey Langenhorst, and Ty Fowles. Also indicted were Joseph Hayes, William Richie, Robert Baltimore, James Prescott, Brian Johnston, James Mowatt, and Jennifer D'Anna.
February 19, 2002, California. Eric Mack of Stanton, California, is arrested by undercover Laguna Beach police officers. Mack, a self-described white supremacist and a member of the Nazi Low Riders, allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of tools, car stereos, and other items. His is arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, possessing stolen property, and car burglary. Three others are also arrested in connection with the burglary ring.
February 19, 2002, Michigan. In a trial in Howell, Michigan, Jasen Barker is convicted of ethnic intimidation and aggravated assault for beating an off-duty African-American Michigan State trooper dancing with a white woman at a bar in April 2001. Barker and a cousin, Travis Sales, shouted racial slurs at the trooper, punched him, and smashed his face with a bottle. The jury, however, does acquit Barker of assault with intent to do great bodily harm. This was the second trial for the incident; in an earlier trial the jury could not agree on a verdict. Following that verdict, Sales pleaded no contest to assault with a dangerous weapon and ethnic intimidation. He faces up to four years in prison; Barker faces up to two years in prison.
February 22, 2002, Washington. Robert V. Bender, who goes by the name of "Fnu Lnu," is sentenced in Tukwila, Washington, to 30 days in jail (and $600 in fines) for impersonating an officer and obstruction of police. Bender had been claiming to be sheriff of "Freedom County," an unrecognized county that a variety of far right wing groups wish to create out of Snohomish County. "Fnu Lnu" comes from the police abbreviation for "First Name Unknown, Last Name Unknown."
February 22, 2002, North Carolina. Dentist Steven Roebuck is sentenced in Raleigh, North Carolina, to two years in prison and a $20,000 fine on two counts of failing to file federal income tax returns. Roebuck, a tax protester and sovereign citizen who has claimed that the federal government coerced him into obtaining a Social Security number and that the courts have no jurisdiction over him, was a follower of prominent tax protester Lynn Meredith of California.
February 26, 2002, Kentucky. Charlie Puckett, the head of the Kentucky State Militia, the nation's most active militia group, is arrested on nine counts of weapons violations. According to the indictment, Puckett, a former convicted felon, was found in the possession of various guns, pipe bombs, and nearly 35,000 rounds of ammunition. Puckett's arrest comes just after he finishes an interview with the television show "Unsolved Mysteries," which is doing a story on Puckett's friend and former militia colleague Steve Anderson, currently a fugitive accused of shooting at a Bell County, Kentucky, sheriff's deputy in October 2001.
February 27, 2002, Montana. Flathead County authorities announce that two members of a local militia group, Project Seven, have been arrested. The group had collected "intelligence files" on a variety of law enforcement officers, government officials, and their families in the Flathead Valley, and some local officials expressed concern that the militia group might have had plans to use them. The two militia members were arrested earlier in February. Police arrested David Burgert after a five-hour standoff on a warrant for jumping bail (he had been awaiting trial on charges of assaulting a police officer in January 2001 and obstructing a police officer in November 2001). In addition, Tracy Brockway was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice for aiding Burgert by hiding him; police also allege that she used her job as a cleaning woman at the Whitefish Police Department to gather information about officers and their families. A search of the two's property turned up an arsenal of weapons-including automatic rifles-and thousands of rounds of ammunition, explosives, an illegal silencer, and booby traps. The investigation continues.
February 28, 2002, California. Ron Lyons of Palmdale, California, and a teenaged girl are arrested in connection with February 1, 2002, assaults on two teenagers outside a club in Lancaster. The girl is charged with assault, while Lyons is charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Police officers said that Lyons and the girl were both reputed members of a group of racist skinheads that had a long-standing dispute with a local group of anti-racist skinheads. A third person is being sought in connection with the incident.