Weekend Open Thread: Meet OC’s Racist Stormtroopers (Shared with LA’s South Bay)

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White supremacist RAM members flex muscles for their mutual gratification.  (NOT gay porn!)

Independent public interest media organization Pro Publica is sort of the Voice of OC of the U.S. at large, doing the sort of investigative journalism that others generally won’t. That includes work in Orange County, on the issue of white supremacist violence, although in this area the OC Weekly under former editor Gustavo Arellano had a pretty good record, and even our purgatorial rag has gotten into the act.  But our resources (and certainly our professionalism) can’t measure up to the real pros — so when Pro Publica identifies the main white supremacist racists in Orange County (ones that we share with the Beach Cities, here including landlocked Torrance), it’s worth your reading.

A Pro Publica piece entitled “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace” appeared on Thursday afternoon, and it is definitely worth your attention — especially if you’re Todd Spitzer or Brett Murdock and running against out pusillanimous “do nothing good” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who figures in the “Unpunished” portion of the headline.  It focuses on a group that calls itself RAM — the “Rise Above Movement,” which the author alleges is behind a lot of OC racist violence.  (They admit to being white supremacists — their creed, authored by the murderer of a Jewish talk show host spending 190 years in federal prison. being  “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” — but deny being “racists,” which is odd because the means they favor to secure said existence and future involves terrorizing and subjugating non-whites.

From the article:

The group, based in Southern California, claims more than 50 members and a singular purpose: physically attacking its ideological foes. RAM’s members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during protests in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley. Many of the altercations have been captured on video, and its members are not hard to spot.

Indeed, ProPublica has identified the group’s core members and interviewed one of its leaders at length. The man in the Charlottesville attacks — filmed by a documentary crew working with ProPublica — is 24-year-old Ben Daley, who runs a Southern California tree-trimming business.

That’s bad, but the world is filled with bad people.  What makes my gorge rise is this:

Despite their prior records, and open boasting of current violence, RAM has seemingly drawn little notice from law enforcement. Four episodes of violence documented by ProPublica resulted in only a single arrest — and in that case prosecutors declined to go forward. Law enforcement officials in the four cities — Charlottesville, Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley — either would not comment about RAM or said they had too little evidence or too few resources to seriously investigate the group’s members.

Here, I’m arguably going beyond fair use, and if Pro Publica objects, they can contact me.  These next paragraphs refer to the beating of OC Weekly reporter Frank John Tristan at the March 25 “Make America Great Again” rally in Huntington Beach, where RAM first appeared.

In the six months since the violent rally, state parks police have opened no criminal case in connection with the assault on Tristan and made no arrests. It is unclear how much of the abundant photographic evidence and video footage the authorities have reviewed, if any.

Capt. Kevin Pearsall, a regional superintendent with the parks police, says his officers can’t act because they’ve received no complaint from Tristan. However, former OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano says he’s repeatedly contacted parks police via phone and email in hopes of getting them to investigate. Parks police documents and internal emails obtained by ProPublica show that Arellano has reached out to police brass and that detectives are aware of the assault on Tristan.

Arellano said since the assault not a single law enforcement agency or official had contacted him about the alleged perpetrators.

“We know their identities,” said Arellano, who supervised Tristan and the other journalists until recently, when he left the paper amid staff cuts. “But what good is the truth when the law doesn’t give a shit?”

Now I know that there’s not NEARLY as many votes in going after young clean-cut violent white man as there are in going after young minorities selling marijuana, but I’ll post a question to our District Attorney, in large red type so that he’ll notice it:


This is your Weekend Open Thread.  Read that linked article, ask a question or two to the OCDA’s office, and and comment here on that or anything else you’d like.

Yes, I WILL have a piece up on the “#metoo” “#ibelieveyou” events dominating anonymous blog commentary in the latter half of this week — probably a while series — but you’re welcome to get a jump on your comments on that topic here.  Note that in the spirit of openness demanded by those outing alleged abusers, I’m not going to commit to keeping the identities of commenters on that topic anonymous, even our long-term commenters here.  If you want to “bravely” accuse someone by name of sexual or other harassment or misconduct, you can do so under your own name.  If you don’t want to be brace, you are open to comment on our rival blogs, but of course Vern and I can’t post in reply to you there.  So where to comment is up to you.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)