Since its founding, members of Volksfront have been arrested for a number of violent crimes against African-Americans, Jews, homosexuals and other minorities. Other members have come to Volksfront with long criminal histories.
Jacob Laskey, formerly Volksfront’s Prisoner Affairs Coordinator in Eugene, was arrested in 2005, along with his brother, Gabriel Doyle Laskey, Jesse Lee Baker and Gerald Anthony Poundstone, for throwing rocks engraved with swastikas at a synagogue in Eugene, Oregon, during a religious service in October 2002. They were indicted for conspiracy to violate civil rights and other related charges. Jacob Laskey also faced charges of attempting to intimidate a witness in the case. Jacob and Gabriel Laskey both pleaded guilty in August 2006. Poundstone received 15 months in prison in September 2006 after pleading guilty. Jacob Laskey was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in prison in April 2007. (Laskey had previously been charged with battery and commission of a hate crime for allegedly beating and threatening an African-American man in December 2000 in Jacksonville, Florida.) Gabriel Laskey and Baker are still awaiting sentencing.
Kurtis Monschke, 20, a probationary unit leader for Volksfront, was sentenced to life in prison on June 4, 2004, for his role in the March 23, 2003, murder of Randall Mark Townsend, 42, in Tacoma, Washington. Prosecutors indicated that Monschke, who has the Volksfront emblem tattooed on his chest adjacent to a swastika that is similar to the one depicted on the main racist skinhead character in the film American History X, instigated the brutal attack in an effort to establish his fledgling crew among higher-ranking members of Volksfront. Emulating a brutal scene in the film, Monschke and his three followers placed Townsend’s open mouth on a railroad tie and stomped several times on the back of his head. Each blow was accompanied with shouts of “white power.” Scotty James Butters, 20, David Nikos Pillatos, 19, and Tristain Lynn Frye, 22, all pleaded guilty and testified against Monschke.
On January 25, 2003, five skinheads attacked a 17-year-old black youth in the parking lot of his residence in Vancouver, Washington. Matthew R. Schmoyer, Carl D. Wolff, Brandon Webb, Jeremy R. Whitten and one other skinhead who was later acquitted had been partying at Schmoyer’s apartment before heading to a Volksfront-sponsored concert near Hillsboro, Oregon, called “Rock Against Communism.” The group was holding the concert to raise legal funds for a Volksfront “comrade” whom they felt was “wrongfully charged with assault.” Whitten was sentenced for misdemeanor assault after striking a plea agreement. Wolff, Webb and Schmoyer were convicted of malicious harassment.
In April 1998, Brian Zauber, a former member of the Volksfront Arizona unit, was charged with ethnic intimidation, aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct after he and four cohorts attacked three women whom they thought were lesbians in a Philadelphia park. Zauber was convicted in July 1998 but fled sentencing and is still considered a fugitive. Zauber left Volksfront and the state of Arizona after a rumor surfaced that he had been selling Volksfront memberships to skinheads without the approval of Volksfront leadership.
Chris Lord, who was linked to Volksfront and the neo-Nazi group American Front, shot at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon, with an assault rifle on March 20, 1994. According to police reports, Lord shot 10 rounds at the temple, half of which entered through the windows and damaged the interior. Lord was convicted of first-degree intimidation, unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree criminal mischief and being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Lord’s accomplice, George Dennis Smith, was also convicted.
In 1998, Volksfront claimed to have gone temporarily “underground” and to have shut down its entire operation for what it described as “internal reasons” and in response to “illegal police and governmental pressure.” When returning from its claimed “underground” status in 2001, Volksfront indicated on its Web site that it “learned with time that ‘Hate Crimes’ and illegal actions are unproductive and not necessary [sic] to achieve the goals we strive for.” This statement was a rhetorical attempt to portray a more respectable image but does not reflect an actual effort by the group to distance itself from other violent white supremacists or reign in its own members from committing violent hate crimes.