From the Eureka Police Department:
With the assistance of family, the Eureka Police Department has identified the individual responsible for the hate-based propaganda fliers recently found in our community. This person is a multiracial, 16-year old male who relocated to Humboldt County recently.
Due to his age, EPD cannot publicly release the youth’s identity. No arrests have been made or criminal charges filed at this time. However, this is an open investigation and this status may change. EPD regularly works with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners and has been in contact with the FBI during this investigation.
The youth was interviewed this morning by EPD detectives and a Special Agent with the FBI’s local satellite office. A second interview was also later conducted with an 18-year old friend of the teen who was here visiting from out-of-state. The youth admitted to placing the propaganda flyer in Henderson Center and to his personal involvement with the group (via the internet and social media) which he described as originally being more “anti-establishment” in nature. (He also claimed to not agree with all of the group’s current ideology including those advocating violence.)
Based on information obtained during the interviews, investigators currently believe the youth likely acted alone (which he maintained) and is not part of a larger like-minded, connected hate group currently residing and operating inside Humboldt County. There is no indication this individual or group poses a major or growing threat (of violent action) in this area at this time. However, situational awareness and reporting of suspicious activity is always advised and encouraged. The effort to recruit youth to their cause remains deeply concerning. EPD and our law enforcement partners will continue to monitor the group and to follow-up with the youth and his family.
EPD encourages parents to take this opportunity to speak with their children about hate and bias. Parents should also closely monitor where and with whom their children are spending their time, not only in person, but also virtually online. Because this individual is a minor, EPD is working with the family to refer him to appropriate community services and anti-bias intervention resources.
White supremacists, hate crime, or anyone targeting others because of race, color, religion or national origin will not be tolerated by law enforcement in our community. Actions that constitute a crime generally include:
- Use of force or the threat of force or conspiracy to use or threaten force
- Targeting of the victim because of race, color, religion or national origin
- Additional motive to injure, intimidate or interfere with some specific federally protected activity or right
It is law enforcement’s duty to ensure the safety of our communities and nation while upholding the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution (including the exercise of the First Amendment) to every citizen. We remain committed to protecting those rights for all Americans while also taking a stand against racism and hate.
Generally, individuals who commit criminal activity in furtherance of their extremist ideology are prosecuted, rather than groups. Membership in an organization that promotes extremist ideology or racism alone (though deeply disturbing) is not illegal nor is it a sufficient basis for prosecution. EPD wants to thank the community for alerting authorities to this inflammatory language being posted in our community.
We encourage people to report potential hate crimes and/or threatening behavior to law enforcement. The community is our most vital resource to combat hate. While those who promote hateful sentiment in our community have free speech rights, the community also has the First Amendment right to say that hate is not welcome here.