Dallas Times Herald
September 30, 1989 (A1)
5 more skinheads indicted in Dallas
By Scott Sunde
of the Times Herald Staff
In a blow aimed at the heart of the white supremacist movement
in Dallas, a federal grand jury has indicted five skinheads on
weapons and civil rights charges involving assaults on blacks
and Hispanics at a Turtle Creek park and vandalism of Jewish
Charges against the five, all members of a group known as the
Confederate Hammerskins, stem from a local and federal
investigation into the skinhead violence in the summer and
fall of 1988. So far, a grand jury sitting in Dallas has
indicted 16 people, seven of whom have pleaded guilty.
The most recent indictment underscores the Justice
Department’s intention to give prosecution of hate crimes the
highest priority, said James Turner, acting assistant attorney
general in the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
“These indictments involve interference with basic civil
rights because of a person’s race, religion, national origin
or ethnic background,” Turner said Friday at a news conference
announcing the indictment. “Racial hate crimes are crimes
against the very idea of American freedom and democracy.”
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in recent years has
identified more than 100 skinheads in the Dallas area,
although there usually are 30 to 40 active members at any one
time. Skinheads are known for their shaved heads, stell-toed
boots and quasi-military clothing and racist, anti-Semitic
The three-count indictment unsealed Friday names Sean Tarrant,
20, Jon Jordan, 19, Michael Lawrence, 21, Christopher Greer,
24, and Daniel Wood, 20. All but Lawrence, who lives in Tulsa,
are from the Dallas area. Authorities said Tarrant, Greer and
Wood were in custody Friday.
The indictment’s first count alleges that all five conspired
in the spring and summer of 1988 to deny blacks and Hispanics
their civil rights by chasing them out of Robert E. Lee Park,
which Justice Department attorney Barry Kowalski said the men
view “as a symbol of white supremacy.” The indictment charges
that some of the skinheads assaulted black men in the park,
including one man who was beaten with a baseball bat.
The second count charges that the five men conspired in a plan
that resulted in vandalism at Temple Shalom and the Jewish
Community Center, both in North Dallas. It also alleges Wood,
Jordan, Lawrence and Greer decided on Nov. 9, 1988, to vandalize
Jewish businesses to mark the 50th anniversay of Kristallnacht —
a night of widespread violence against Jews and their
property in Nazi Germany.
Police stopped Wood and Jordan the night of Nov. 9 in a truck
carrying baseball bats, ball bearings, concrete blocks and
spray paint — items the indictment said were to be used to
vandalize Jewish businesses.
The final count accuses Wood, Lawrence and Jordan of using a
gun while committing a federal crime.
Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Mike Gillett, who
helped in the investigation, said the crimes spelled out in
the indictment are the product of “warped-thinking political
cowards” and “simple-minded terrorists” who “attack not only
fundamental freedoms guaranteed by law but a code of moral
The first two counts carry a penalty of up to 10 years in
prison and a fine of $250,000. The last carries a mandatory
five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Wood was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a state court in
January for defacing Temple Shalom in October 1988. Earlier
this month, he pleaded guilty in federal court to fleeing the
state to avoid testifying before a grand jury about the
attempted fire-bombing of a Kaufman County church.
Federal agents declined to say whether the five men held posts
of importance in the Confederate Hammerskins. But Mark
Briskman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League,
said the five are leaders of the group.
He and local and federal authorities agreed that the combined
federal-local investigation, which continues, has reduced
skinhead violence in Dallas. The most recent indictments,
Briskman said, represent “a very important national statement
by this administration and by the Justice Department that they
are not going to tolerate this kind of assault on minorities
in this country.”
He also noted that the indictment was announced just hours
before the start of Rosh Hashana, the celebration of the
Jewish new year. The indictment will affirm to Dallas Jews
that they can attend Rosh Hashana services “without having to
fear being able to worship freely,” Briskman said.
But Rabbi Kenneth Roseman said he could not look upon the
indictments without some sadness.
“We’re saddened by any violence or prejudice by any groups
whether it’s directed against us or any groups,” he said.
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