By Karen Zraick, The New York Times
Just before 1 a.m. Saturday, a crew of white supremacist gang members descended on the Rec Room Bar & Grill, a normally relaxed bar in Lynnwood, Wash., about a half-hour drive north of Seattle, the authorities said.
After ordering drinks, they quickly tried to take over the D.J. booth, according to a police report. The D.J., who is African-American, later told The Seattle Times that the group had demanded that he play heavy metal, and that he had queued up Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.
But it wasn’t fast enough. As the gang members surrounded the 37-year-old D.J., whose name the authorities did not release, he noticed their swastika tattoos, he told the newspaper. They threw him to the ground, beating and stomping him and using racial slurs. The bar manager, whose mother owns the bar and who is Asian-American, tried to intervene and was also beaten. The police said more than a dozen people were involved in the fighting. Frightened patrons called 911.
“For something like this to have happened was incredibly terrifying,” the manager, identified as Jason Baum, told KIRO 7 News.
The D.J. was treated for injuries, including a swollen eye, that were not life-threatening at a hospital and Mr. Baum had minor injuries, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspects were trying to flee as officers arrived, the sheriff’s office said. They arrested and charged eight suspects in the assault, and the sheriff has also requested that the F.B.I. investigate, in the hope that federal hate crime charges, which carry stiffer penalties, would be filed.
Among the defendants is Travis David Condor, 34, a former soldier who runs a hate-music record label, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was photographed at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year that ended in chaos when a neo-Nazi drove into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, the center said. That man, James Fields Jr., was convicted of murder on Friday, and on Tuesday, a jury recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison.
A court-appointed lawyer for Mr. Condor, Walter O. Peale, said his client denied that he was in a gang and said that he “protests his innocence.”
“He was not involved in any assaultive behavior,” Mr. Peale said.
The defendants in the bar assault — seven men and one woman — were identified in court papers as members of the Aryan Brotherhood, which the Southern Poverty Law Center says is the nation’s oldest white supremacist prison gang and a national crime syndicate. They face charges including assault, harassment and malicious harassment, and could each face up to five years in prison. One man was released on his own recognizance, and two others were freed on bail. The others remained in custody on Tuesday night.
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