White sheets; no-iron(y)

Like an uninvited guest at a funeral, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization has inserted itself into the turmoil over the attacks on white UVA students by black Charlottesville High School students. EURO, a national group headed by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, issued a call for the attacks to be charged under Virginia’s hate-crime statutes, which turn a misdemeanor assault charge into a felony.

Interestingly, EURO does not support hate-crime legislation. “We’re personally opposed to it and consider it an Orwellian way to punish people for what they’re thinking,” says Ron Doggett, president of the 300-member Virginia chapter of EURO, whose website,  HYPERLINK "http://www.whitecivilrights.com" www.whitecivilrights.com, offers for sale the video, “Hate Crime Laws: Making Criminals of Christians.”

Asked if he finds it ironic that his group is pressing for enforcement of laws it objects to, Doggett says, “No, not at all. We have to deal with laws as they’re on the books to assure equal justice under the law, and if there’s not, that’s all the more reason they shouldn’t be on the books.”

Doggett, who lives in Richmond, says the elements of this case are, “no pun intended, clearly black and white.”  When he read about the attacks in the Richmond newspaper, Doggett galvanized the allegedly 3,000-member organization and its 10,000 supporters to apply pressure to charge the CHS teens under hate-crime statutes.

On February 18, EURO asked the FBI to investigate whether the civil rights of the white UVA students had been violated, whether police and City officials have tried to cover up racially motivated attacks, and whether black special interest groups have interfered with the investigation.  

The FBI declined to investigate the charges, and tight-lipped Commonwealth’s attorney Dave Chapman, as of press time, had not charged the youths with hate crimes.

Mayor Blake Caravati, who says that the words “hate crime” do not appear in Virginia’s statutes, denies that city officials are trying to cover up anything or influence the judicial process. “They don’t know the facts or the community, and a lot of their comments are hollow,” he says. Caravati points out that the Commonwealth’s attorney works for the state of Virginia, not the City, and that Chapman is “absolutely fastidious in following the judicial process.”  

“The evidence of the case will decide the charges,” Caravati adds. 

Caravati has received a number of emails from the EURO-ites in the past few weeks.  “I haven’t read many because of their tone,” he says. Although he doesn’t elaborate on the contents, Caravati says he wishes they’d follow “a Judeo-Christian ethic…. I think some of these folks are not responsible.”

He adds, “We’re a unified community, and we’ve dealt with things like this in the past. We’re very capable of coming together and dealing with this.”

And in fact, no less than three citizen committees have been formed to address the issues raised by the attacks.

Doggett promises his group will come to Charlottesville if hate-crime charges are not filed. The group may host a community forum and invite the police and NAACP to talk about the issue. “If there is any hypocrisy,” he says, “it’s the NAACP who lobbied for these laws to be passed but don’t want them applied if blacks are the attackers.”

Another option for EURO is a demonstration.  “We can be annoying if we want to be,” says Doggett. If the EUROs demonstrate here, will they wear any special attire, say, white sheets? 

“I sleep on them,” Doggett laughs, “not wear them.”