Men Linked to White Nationalist Group Arrested for Hate Crime Attack Against Black DJ In Washington State

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A hate watchdog group says men arrested in connection to a racially charged brawl that broke out at a Washington state bar over the weekend are known white supremacists.

According to local station KIRO 7, authorities arrived to the Rec Room Bar and Grill early Saturday morning after receiving calls about an out-of-control fight that had broken out and involved several patrons. It took help from the Lynwood and Everett police departments, as well as the Washington State Patrol, just to get things settled, deputies for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

Rec Room Bar and Grill
Folks who frequent the Rec Room Bar and Grill described it as a friendly place that welcomes people of all backgrounds. (Photo by Erik Lacitis / The Seattle Times)

“[Officers] determined they had probable cause to arrest a number of people for a number of crimes,” Snohomish County Lt. Jeff Brand told the station. He confirmed eight people were arrested.

The early morning brawl in Lynwood, Washington, came as a shock to those who frequent the suburban Seattle bar, including general manager Jason Baum. Baum, who admits he’s still reeling from the altercation, said the family-owned pub is run as a place that welcomes people from all different backgrounds, so this is the last thing he would’ve expected.

“For something like [that] to have happened was incredibly terrifying,” he said. “[I’m] shaky, emotional and it’s hard to focus every once in a while.”

Recalling the events of that day, Baum said a group of men he thought were in a social club walked into his family’s bar just after midnight. Not long after ordering drinks, he said the men launched a racist assault on his friend and bar DJ, who is African-American. Baum said he immediately jumped in to defend his buddy.

“That’s what a friend does,” he told KIRO 7. “A friend’s not going to stand back and watch another friend in need.”

Baum said the melee, during which he fought off at least 10 people, left both he and the DJ with concussions. The DJ, who asked to remain unnamed, told The Seattle Times he was in pain “from head to toe.”

At least two of the men arrested in the assault, Travis Condor of Philadelphia and Cory Thomas Colwell of Eugene, Ore., have ties to some of the nation’s “oldest and most violent skinhead groups,” according to The Southern Poverty Law Center. The civil rights organization said Condor in particular was seen marching with fellow white nationalists at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. He’s also the head of American Defense Records, which pegs itself as a “patriotic record label” and has  released songs with titles like “Liberals Can Die!” and “Strength Thru Hate.”

During Saturday’s brawl, authorities said racial slurs were used against the Black DJ, who recalled one of his attackers telling him, “We will find you, and we will kill you.”

The DJ said the group of men became agitated after he took too long to play the heavy metal music they’d requested.

“What, they couldn’t wait a minute and a half, two minutes? That’s all they had to wait to get to their music?” said the DJ, who played everything from R&B to Top 40 tunes that night. “For that they beat my ass, and called me a (N-word)?”

Moreover, the DJ said one of his attackers shattered the screen to his Mac computer, which carries much of his music. He said the suspect then started taking off his pants and dancing around in his underwear.

Police said it’s unclear why the group of about 20 men, most of whom were from out of state, stopped by the Rec Room bar that night. The SPLC noted, however, that white nationalists typically gather on Dec. 8 to commemorate the death of Robert Jay Mathews, a martyr in the white nationalist movement.

Mathews, the founder of neo-Nazi group The Order, was killed in a shootout with federal agents on Dec. 8, 1984, in nearby Whidbey Island, Washington.

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