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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Aryan Nations member with Longview ties accused of racially motivated attack (USA)

The man whose neo-Nazi recruitment meeting prompted a huge "diversity march" through Longview has been indicted by a federal grand jury in a racially motivated attack in Vancouver.

Zachary Loren Beck, 31, and Kory Boyd, 25, both of Vancouver, are accused of attacking a black man Jan. 7 at a Vancouver sports bar. They were arrested Wednesday morning and made their first appearance Wednesday afternoon at U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

The grand jury returned the indictment last week charging Beck and Boyd with conspiracy to violate civil rights and interference with a federally protected right. Beck also was charged with witness tampering.

According to the indictment, Beck told the bartender at Captain's Sports Bar that the lone black patron at the bar "had to leave."

After allegedly stepping outside with others to discuss physically attacking the man, Beck and Boyd came back in, and Beck told the black man he "needed to leave the bar or there would be a problem," the indictment said.

Beck tried to hit the man and Boyd threw a glass bottle at the man, showering him with broken glass, the indictment said. The victim and his friends stood up to the attackers, and Beck, Boyd and a third conspirator then left the bar, the indictment said.

The third man has been convicted in state court of trying to stab the victim, the indictment said.

The witness tampering charge stems from Beck's attempts to get his former girlfriend to provide an alibi for the night of the attack, the indictment said.

If convicted as charged, each man faces up to 10 years in prison.

The case is being investigated by the Vancouver Police Department and the FBI.

Beck, a member of the Aryan Nations neo-Nazi organization, moved to Longview from Hayden, Idaho, in February 2004. Shortly after he moved here, a few local churches received mailings of neo-Nazi literature that included Beck's business card.

In December 2007, Beck rented the McClelland Arts Center to hold a recruitment meeting for the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, a white supremacist church.

"Our goals aren't violent at all," he told The Daily News at the time. His church promotes racial purity and "anti-mongrelism," he said.

Before the meeting, in a counterdemonstration to Beck's efforts, more than 400 people marched through Longview in near-freezing weather holding signs saying "Celebrate Diversity" and similar sentiments. The march is believed to be the city's largest-ever demonstration. About 30 white supremacists attended Beck's recruitment meeting.

Beck ran unsuccessfully for the Hayden City Council on the Aryan Nations ticket in 2003. That year he was charged with punching a man in a parking lot after asking him if he was Mexican.

Charged in 2004 of shooting at Longview police during a standoff, Beck entered an Alford plea in 2005 to burglary and assault charges. He continued to maintain his innocence, claiming he was framed.

In June 2008 a jury found him guilty of possessing cocaine.