Four men who assaulted a Black DJ because of the man’s actual and perceived race at a bar in Lynnwood, Washington, were sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Jason DeSimas, 45, Jason Stanley, 46, Randy Smith, 42, and Daniel Dorson, 27, previously each pleaded guilty to one count of committing a hate crime, as well as one count of making false statements to investigators about their role in the assault.
DeSimas was sentenced to 48 months; Stanley was sentenced to 47 months and nine days; Smith was sentenced to 42 months; and Dorson was sentenced to 28 months.
“The defendants subjected a Black man to a brutal and racially-motivated assault,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Racially-motivated hate crimes terrorize entire communities, and they have no place in our society. The Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who commit these abhorrent crimes.”
“The myth of white supremacy is alive and well and can foment dangerous behavior and violence. These particular defendants are deeply steeped in racial hatred, expressed through their Nazi tattoos, white supremacist symbols on their clothing and their use of racist slurs. They came to our area to honor a man who died leading a racist and violent gang, and thought they could act on their beliefs with impunity,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown for the Western District of Washington. “But the victims and witnesses of their brutal assault have proved they are far stronger than these four. And today our justice system is holding them accountable for the damage they did not only to the people they assaulted, but to the community that recoils when presented with their despicable hatred.”
“Imagine being attacked by four men purely because of the color of your skin.” said Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi of the FBI Seattle Field Office. “The victim in this case does not have to imagine. Tragically, he lived it. With today’s sentences, my hope is the victim feels some sense of justice has been served. However, until all citizens are safe from threats and violence based on their race, ethnicity, gender or beliefs, the FBI’s work protecting victims of hate will continue.”
In their respective plea agreements, DeSimas, Stanley, Smith and Dorson each admitted that, on Dec. 8, 2018, they entered a bar in Lynnwood, with a large group that included fellow members of Crew 38 and the Hammerskins. Crew 38 is a support group for the Hammerskins, which is a white supremacist organization. The majority of the men in the group were similarly dressed in dark jeans or pants, black boots, black “bomber” jackets and dark-colored t-shirts and had crew-cut hairstyles. Some wore jackets with either Crew 38 patches or other patches aligned with white supremacist beliefs. In addition, many wore shirts with phrases, numbers or logos that expressed white supremacist beliefs and/or memberships, including Crew 38. Many in the group also had visible tattoos, including swastika tattoos, that expressed their views on white race superiority. Members of the group, including defendants Stanley and Smith, repeatedly gave the Nazi salute as they danced.
While in the bar, all four defendants assaulted T.S., a Black man who was serving as the disc jockey at the bar, when T.S. attempted to move defendant Stanley away from his music equipment. All four defendants punched and kicked T.S., even after he fell to the floor, while some in the group called T.S. racial slurs. Two bystanders attempted to intervene to help T.S. and stop the assault. The defendants and other assaulted both bystanders, causing them to sustain injuries. As a result of the defendants’ actions, T.S. suffered serious physical injuries, including extrema pain, loss of consciousness, bleeding and swelling in his eye and bruising on his back, chest and legs.
In their plea agreements, the four defendants each admitted that they were members of Crew 38 and/or prospective members of the Hammerskins, and that they had traveled to the Lynnwood area with others to attend events related to “Martyr’s Day,” an annual gathering honoring a white supremacist who died in a shootout with federal agents on Whidbey Island in the 1980s.
In their plea agreements, defendants DeSimas and Stanley each admitted that they knew that the Hammerskins had used a tactic known as “mutual combat” against members of groups whose beliefs they opposed. Members believed that, using this tactic, they could go to bars frequented by groups whose beliefs they opposed and have one or more members initiate a fight. When the fight began, other members of the group could jump in and assault their perceived antagonists, and later claim a defense of “mutual combat” as a way to avoid accountability.
In addition to the hate crime charge, each defendant pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to federal agents who were investigating the assault. Specifically, Stanley falsely claimed to the agents that he was not even present in the State of Washington during the weekend of the assault. Stanley made this false claim in order to cover up his participation in the assault of T.S.
DeSimas falsely claimed to the agents that neither he nor anyone else called T.S. a racial slur during the assault, while Smith falsely claimed to the agents that he did not remember anyone calling T.S. a racial slur during the assault. Dorson falsely told agents that he had not traveled to Washington State during the weekend of the assault to attend a white supremacist’s “Martyr’s Day” observance and that he had not owned a jacket associated with a white supremacy hate group prior to the weekend of Dec. 8, 2018. In their respective plea agreements, these defendants each admitted that they made these false statements in order to cover up the motive for the assault, which was the bias that he and others had against T.S.’s race.
The four defendants were charged in an indictment that was unsealed on Dec. 18, 2020.
Smith was charged in the District of Oregon in an unrelated case for illegal possession of a firearm. That charge was resolved in the Western District of Washington.
The FBI investigated the case, with the support of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The Smith firearms matter was investigated by the FBI Portland Field Office and the Eugene, Oregon, Police Department.
Trial Attorney Christine M. Siscaretti of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Cohen for the Western District of Washington are prosecuting the case. The Smith firearms matter was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William McLaren for the District of Oregon.