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January 17, 1992 - Image 92

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS

Metzger Begins
Serving Jail Term

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 1992

Los Angeles (JTA) —
White supremacist leader
Tom Metzger began serving
a six-month jail term for his
part in a cross-burning eight
years ago.
The sentence is Mr. Met-
zger's first ever despite
decades of anti-Semitic and
anti-black activities.
The founder of the White
Aryan Resistance and
former grand dragon of the
California Ku Klux Klan
was taken into custody by
Los Angeles County mar-
shals after he was unable to
raise $100,000 bail.
A judgment of $9 million
was rendered in 1990
against Mr. Metzger, his son
John and WAR, in a civil
suit brought for inciting
skinheads to attack and kill
an Ethiopian man in
Portland, Ore.
The California judge, J.D.
Smith, refused to release Mr.
Metzger on his own
recognizance, pending ap-
peal. He sharply repri-
manded him for using the
trial as a platform for his
racist views.
"What galls the court most
is (that) Mr. Metzger con-
tinues to tell the world,"
said Mr. Smith, that his con-
viction was based on his
philosophy.
"That's not true," he said.
"This was a simple trial."
Even as he was led away,
Mr. Metzger was trumpeting
his beliefs.
"I'm prepared to go to jail.
I've got a lot of friends in jail
already," he boasted.
He added that "it doesn't
do much good to kill the
messenger because the word
is out. White people are piss-
ed off all over the world."
Mr. Metzger, 53, was
among 15 hooded and robed
men arrested eight years ago
during a ceremony in which
the participants shouted
racist slogans, gave Nazi
salutes and burned three
towering crosses in a canyon
overlooking the Los Angeles
suburb of Lake View Ter-
race.
Prosecutors charged that
the ceremony was intended
to provoke violent clashes,
unite several white racist
groups and intimidate black
and other residents of the
racially mixed community.
After an 11-week trial, the
jury convicted Mr. Metzger
on one misdemeanor count of
unlawful assembly. Besides
the jail sentence, the judge
imposed a $200 fine and or-
dered the veteran racist to
perform 200 hours of corn-

munity service with organ-
izations that work with
minorities or in a hospital.
Mr. Metzger will be held in
a one-man cell in an isolated
area of the jail to protect him
from other inmates. For his
additional safety, he will be
escorted by two sheriff's
deputies each time he leaves
his cell, according to defense
attorney Kevin Avery.
Prosecutor Joan Phillips
said the conviction and jail-
ing of Mr. Metzger sent a
strong message that cross-
burning and other racist be-
havior will not be tolerated
in Los Angeles County.
"We like to think that the
prosecution impeded the
Klan's activity here in
California," Mr. Phillips
said.

Abie Nathan
Petition Made

Paris (JTA) — More than
700 French scientists and
scholars have signed a peti-
tion to Israeli Prime Min-
ister Yitzhak Shamir urging
the immediate release of
peace activist Abie Nathan
from jail.
. Mr. Nathan was sentenced
in October to 18 months in
prison for meeting with
Palestine Liberation Organ-
ization chief Yassir Arafat
in Tunis in June, as well as
other meetings with PLO of-
ficials. It is the second time
this year that he has been
jailed for the same offense.
Israeli law forbids contacts
with the PLO.
The petition stated that
"the undersigned consider
that this sentence is a penal-
ty for an act intended to
promote peace between
Israelis and Palestinians,
which is essential for the
future of Israel, as well as for
all the people of the area."
The petition urged repeal
of the law.
The signatories included
prominent philosophers and
sociologists active in Jewish
life, who usually refrain
from making political
statements in public.
The petition, with copies to
President Chaim Herzog of
Israel and Israeli Justice
Minister Dan Meridor, was
handed to the minister
plenipotentiary at the
Israeli Embassy in Paris,
Yitzhak Eldan.
Last month, leaders of the
Reform Jewish movement in
the United States called on
the Shamir government to
free Mr. Nathan.

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