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The Hate Crime Files
26 minutes | Jan 6, 2022
Episode 23: Ahmaud Arbery, Part 3
Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man, was chased down, cornered, and killed near Brunswick, GA, by white vigilantes on February 23, 2020, while jogging through a white neighborhood. The men who killed the 25-year-old Arbery claimed they thought he was a burglar after allegedly spotting him looking around a house under construction in the community. Arbery's murder became national news because one of his alleged murderers, 52-year-old William "Roddie" Bryan, recorded the pursuit and killing on his smartphone. Bryan claimed he merely used his truck to help chase down and corner Arbery. The other defendants — 67-year-old Greg McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, 35 — are seen confronting Arbery in an attempt to perform a "citizen's arrest" in an encounter that ends with Arbery dead after three gunshots. More than two months would pass before authorities took action.
39 minutes | Jun 6, 2020
Episode 22: Ahmaud Arbery pt. 2
Ahmaud Arbery’s life was at a crossroads on February 23, when he laced up his running shoes for his daily run. Ahmaud probably wasn’t thinking about his past that Sunday afternoon. He had plans for the future. His mother said he intended to go back to South Georgia Technical College and complete his training to become an electrician, like his uncles. His future stretched out before him, like the familiar roads he jogged along every day, but Ahmaud probably wasn’t thinking about the future. He was likely just thinking about his run and where it would take him that day. It would take him across US Route 17. The four-lane highway that travelers took to the resorts on Jekyll Island also served as a boundary between black and white in the area. Ahmaud’s route that day took him across the highway and into the predominantly white neighborhood of Satilla Shores
27 minutes | May 22, 2020
Episode 21: Ahmaud Arbery
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon when 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery set out from his home in Glynn County, Georgia, just outside of Brunswick, where he lived with his mother in the predominantly black community called Fancy Bluff. Nestled in a marshy coastal corner of Georgia, Glynn County is about 300 miles southeast of Atlanta. With a population of 65,000, it's known for its barrier islands and vibrant African American culture. Like many southern communities, the county's history is marred by racial violence, including three lynchings in the 19th century. According to census records, the county is about 70 percent white and 27 percent black. Ahmaud Arbery was ready for a run. A former high school football star, he was passionate about staying in shape, according to family and friends. He spent most of his free time running. Arbery couldn't have known that it would be his last run; he would be pursued and cornered by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and shot dead in the street.
37 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Episode 20: The Red Summer of 1919, Jenkins County
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of a pivotal summer in American history, African American history, and the civil rights movement. It was known as the Red Summer of 1919. Author James Weldon Johnson, who also wrote the lyrics to "Lift Every Voice And Sing," gave it that name because of the blood that stained the streets of so many American cities and towns. At least 25 riots and incidents of mob violence took place from late spring through the early fall of 1919. White mobs struck black churches as centers of black life and organizing in black communities. More than a dozen churches were burned. As many as 97 lynchings were recorded, and more than 250 African Americans were killed by white mobs as violence erupted in places like New York City; Memphis and Knoxville, Tennessee; Baltimore, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Chicago; and Putnam County, Georgia.
54 minutes | Mar 23, 2020
Episode 19: Coronavirus Racism
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is following the patterns of other outbreaks. Fear and ignorance are spreading nearly as fast as the virus itself. Worse yet, it seems to be trickling down from the highest levels of government. In a disturbing trend, Asian Americans and Asians in other countries report that they are facing harassment related to the coronavirus pandemic. Some cases involve microaggressions — comments and actions that subtly express prejudice against groups that are discriminated against or subject to stereotypes. Some are violent attacks.
48 minutes | Mar 5, 2020
Episode 18: Richard Collins III
Richard Collins III, a 23-year-old African-American student at Maryland's Bowie State University, appeared to be on the threshold of a promising future. He was set to graduate and would have walked across the stage to accept his diploma on Tuesday, May 23. But Collins would never get to celebrate his graduation. On May 19, Collins was looking to spend a Friday night out with friends. He sent a text to his ROTC group, asking if anyone was free and interested in going to College Park for a night out. But many of his fellow cadets were out training. So Collins elected to make the trip by himself. Also out that night was Sean Urbanski, a 22-year-old white male from Severna Park, Maryland.
67 minutes | Feb 19, 2020
Episode 17: Tallahassee Hot Yoga Shooting
In 10 days, just before the 2018 midterm elections, Americans saw four terrifying new hate crimes. On October 24, 51-year-old Gregory Bush tried and failed to break into a black church outside of Louisville. He went to a nearby Kroger, and killed two black shoppers, telling a bystander that "whites don't shoot whites." Two days later, a 57-year-old Florida man and Trump supporter named Cesar Sayoc was accused of mailing pipe bombs to political critics of Donald Trump. The following day, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, shot and killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, while shouting "All Jews must die!" We covered the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in episode 8 of this podcast. Finally, on November 2, 40-year-old misogynist Scott Beierle shot and killed two women at a hot yoga class in Tallahassee, Florida, before turning his gun on himself.
54 minutes | Feb 3, 2020
Episode 16: Collier Township Shooting
In his 2017 book "Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era," sociologist Michael Kimmell coined the term "aggrieved entitlement" to describe the state of mind of some American white men, who become angry to the point of advocating mass murder and genocide. Kimmell argues that white men who join extremist movements are part of the downwardly mobile middle class, who feel "betrayed by the country they love, discarded like trash on the side of the information superhighway." By all appearances, 48-year-old George Sodini seemed to be a pretty successful guy. He was in good shape and reasonably good looking. He owned a car and had a good job. But, from his perspective and in his own words, Sodini bore more of a resemblance to the men Kimmell described. On August 4, 2009, that frustration led George Sodini to walk into an aerobics class at an LA Fitness gym in Collier Township, Pennsylvania, and open fire on the people he blamed for his anger: women.
48 minutes | Jan 15, 2020
Episode 15: Julio Rivera & Edgar Garzon
Today New York City's Jackson Heights neighborhood is also home to a large, mostly Latino LGBTQ community, which has transformed the area into a destination spot that rivals Chelsea and the Village. It's also become home to LGBTQ families seeking good schools, affordable rents, an easy commute, and a vibrant community in a kid-friendly — and queer-friendly — environment. Jackson Heights wasn't always as safe or welcoming to LGBT people as it is today. Two hate-motivated murders eleven years apart galvanized the LGBT activists in the neighborhood and sparked actions that made it the welcoming community it is today.
4 minutes | Dec 4, 2019
I wanted to post a quick announcement to let my listeners know that I've decided to take a break from posting new episodes during the holiday season, and will return will all-new episodes in the new year. I've had a great first year doing this podcast, and I'm grateful to all the listeners who subscribed and shared this podcast with friends and family. I'm looking forward to bigger and better things in the new year. I'll be taking some time during the break to research and prepare new episodes. I'm currently researching what will probably become a series of episodes on the Red Summer of 1919, when more than 20 race riots broke out across the US, following the return of black soldiers from the battlefields of World War I. I'm also researching some gender-motivated hate crimes — that is, motivated by hatred of women — for episodes in the year to come. Thanks to everyone for making the first year of this podcast succesful. I'll see you in the new year!
47 minutes | Nov 18, 2019
Episode 14: Lynching
Democrats in the House of Representatives have launched public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, following an inquiry into whistleblower testimony that Trump asked the President of Ukraine to investigate the family of a political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and withheld military aid to Ukraine for additional pressure. Trump's reaction has been characteristically over the top, with the victimhood dial turned to 11. He raised a significant number of eyebrows in his tweet on October 22. He wrote: "So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the president, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!"
38 minutes | Nov 1, 2019
Episode 13: Timothy Coggins
On October 9, 1983, 10-year-old Christopher Vaughn was out hunting with his father when the two of them came across the body of an African-American male in a grassy ditch next to some power lines. The body was so severely damaged that authorities had trouble identifying it. Police asked the public for help with the identification. On October 10, the 15-paragraph article at the bottom of the front page of the local newspaper described the victim as a 5-foot-7-inches and in his 20s. There was a small tattoo on his left hand, and he wore blue jeans and a beige sweater and was barefoot when found. He had a small goatee and "light mustache." Two of his bottom teeth were missing. Investigators combed through missing person reports before identifying the victim as Timothy Coggins the next day.
64 minutes | Oct 17, 2019
Episode 12: Matthew Shepard
This week marked the 21st anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death. Since the details of Matthew Shepard's murder are widely known and readily available for anyone to look them up, I wanted to do something a little different from the usual narrative for this episode. Fortunately, I had the chance to sit down and talk with Veronica Kennedy, who was a classmate of Matthew's at their boarding school in Switzerland, to learn more about who Matthew was and what he meant to those who knew him well. What follows is our discussion.
43 minutes | Oct 1, 2019
Episode 11: White Supremacy and Terrorism
For the last 20 years of his life, Caughman lived on W. 36th Street in Manhattan, at the Barbour Hotel. The single room occupancy hotel now provides housing for people transitioning out of homelessness, but Caughman was not homeless. Svein Jorgensen, the chief executive of Praxis Housing Initiatives, which manages the Barbour, said that of the 100-odd residents, Caughman was one of the few who were actually permanent tenants and not part of the transient program. Caughman took up can and bottle recycling to make extra money and keep busy. He used the money he made, in part, to help finance trips to Washington, DC, where he enjoyed attending congressional hearings. Caughman was searching for recyclables on the night of March 17, 2017, when he had a fatal encounter with 28-year-old James Jackson.
35 minutes | Sep 17, 2019
Episode 10: Arthur Warren
Arthur "J.R." Warren was a 26-year-old African American gay man, who resided in Grant Town, West Virginia. He lived with his parents and his 16-year-old sister Audra on Paw Paw Street, nestled between the main road and the railroad tracks that is home to most of Grant Town's black residents. His mother, Brenda, worked as a salesclerk at the Ames department store outside Fairmont. His father, Arthur, was a former coal miner who was unable to work due to a motorcycle accident that mangled his leg. On July 3, 2000, he was murdered by two teenage white males, in what is believed to have been a hate crime.
33 minutes | Sep 3, 2019
Episode 9: Duanna Johnson
Discrimination and denial of opportunity put many transgender people in harm's way by leaving them vulnerable to poverty and homelessness and causing some resort to sex work as a means of survival. That was the situation facing 43-year-old Duanna Johnson, an African American transgender woman living in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2008. She struggled with poverty, unemployment, and crack addiction, as well as several arrests for prostitution. On February 12, 2008, Johnson was arrested on a charge of prostitution, which was later dropped. Johnson was booked at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis. While Johnson was waiting to be fingerprinted, she was beaten by an officer, while another held her down. She was maced when she refused to comply with an officer's orders after the officer insulted her.
51 minutes | Aug 16, 2019
Episode 8: Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting
October 27, 2018, began as a peaceful Saturday morning. It was the Sabbath many of the residents of Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, and there was a slight drizzle as they made their way to synagogue. The tree-lined neighborhood about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh is a hub of the city's Jewish community, and one of the largest predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in the country. A profound sense of security reigned in Squirrel Hill, which is home to a dozen synagogues, including the Tree of Life Synagogue, where a killer waited outside.
21 minutes | Aug 3, 2019
Episode 7: Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry
In Western culture, we're taught at an early age that it matters when men hold hands. At a young age, boys may hold hands with other boys or even hug and kiss. But as they approach their pre-teens, they learn to believe that their human nature is unacceptable. It's so intolerable that some men even turn to violence to prove it. This enduring legacy of masculinity that tells us men shouldn't hold hands is unnecessary, sad, and dangerous. Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry, a gay couple in Austin, Texas, had a violent encounter with this brand of toxic masculinity on the night of January 19, 2019. They were holding hands as they frequented bars in downtown Austin in celebration of a friend's birthday.
24 minutes | Jul 15, 2019
Episode 6: Maddison Kleeman Rose
In 2017, the Rose family moved to Achille from Sherman, Texas, with their daughter Maddison, or Maddie for short. Maddison Kleeman Rose is a pretty typical Oklahoma 12-year-old. She enjoys school, she dances at the drop of a hat, and she loves going to church. The only difference is that Maddie is transgender.
13 minutes | Jul 1, 2019
Episode 5: Daniel Fetty
It was late on a Saturday night in the small town of Waverly, Ohio, on October 4, 2004. It was not going to be a good night for 39-year-old Daniel Fetty. He was already dealing with a handicap. Fetty was hearing impaired and used a hearing aid, which would perhaps factor into the events of that night, when he would become the victim of the first homicide in 40 years, in the town of 4,500, just 60 miles south of Columbus.
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