An Ohio man who hoped to resurrect the violent white supremacist group the Aryan Republican Army was charged with felony hate crimes by federal prosecutors. In the 1990s, the group robbed 22 banks in hopes of gaining enough funding to spark a war between black and white Americans.
The SPLC reported that 33-year-old Charles E. Butler Jr. revealed his plans for reviving the group to Ohio prison officials last year.
In May, Butler was arrested along with Robert A. Paschalis, 25, for attacking a black man with a broom handle in a racially motivated attack. The two men are being prosecuted by federal officials under the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which makes it a federal crime to attack someone because of their race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Butler and Paschalis were driving in Toledo in a pickup truck bearing a Confederate flag sticker. The men passed a black man identified by the Toledo Blade as Adrian Williams and instigated a confrontation, calling Williams "ni**er" and "fa**ot."
Butler grabbed a broom from the bed of the truck and proceeded to beat Williams with its wooden handle. The attack was broken up by a group of bystanders that included two off-duty Ohio Public Safety Officers.
The attackers were taken into custody, where they remain.
When asked by police about the motive for the attack, Paschalis said, "If you couldn't tell, he's [Butler] extremely racist.” Court documents call Butler a "self-identified white supremacist.”
The Blade said that Butler blamed Williams for the attack, that the black man provoked him by calling him a "cracker." Paschalis said this was not the case and admitted that he has had to get Butler out of violent altercations before.
Court documents said, "[Butler] has numerous tattoos indicative of white supremacy, including the German War Eagle, a portrait of Adolf Hitler, a Swastika and a Confederate flag.”
Evidence seized after the attack included "recruiting materials for racial and religious hatred and causing violence throughout the State of Ohio in the name of white Christians (Aryans)."
The documents went on, “There were also instructions on training procedures, paramilitary structure throughout the organization and weapons needed to carry out the mission of the Aryan Republican Army.”
Furthermore, “Butler's Facebook page is filled with photographs and posts of Adolf Hitler, burning crosses, Nazi war eagles, Aryan Nationalist Alliance logos, Confederate flags, the Ku Klux Klan, references to President Obama as a monkey, and various white pride symbols."
In a Facebook post bragging about attacking Williams, Butler called the victim a "ni**er" and a "b*tch."
The Blade said that Butler moved to Toledo in late 2015 after serving time in an Arizona state prison for domestic violence.
“I have no idea why they say this is racially motivated, because I’ve gotten in fights with white people, Japanese, Mexican,” Butler said.