Tuesday, August 14, 2007

When hate wears a badge

[According to ABC 11-TV in Raleigh, this is a photo of Anthony Finch in Klan regalia.]

-- by Dave

I recently came across a case in Henderson, North Carolina that illustrates one of the dangers of right-wing racist fanaticism: It's adherents are known to seek out or even already hold positions of authority, particularly in the ranks of police. The result is what Ann Coulter likes to call "a little local fascism":
The 9th District Court took the necessary steps Monday to consolidate all hearings related to the Anthony Finch case when Judge John W. Davis ordered Dionne Hensley and James Maye to appear in Vance County Court on Aug. 13.

The two have been charged separately with ethnic intimi­dation and making a harass­ing phone call following a reported workplace confronta­tion with Finch’s stepson, Robert “Rudy” Orr on June 8. Aug. 13 is also the date set for Finch’s hearing on charges of ethnic intimidation and pointing a gun.

After Hensley and Maye’s confrontation with Orr, Finch allegedly chased the couple by car at high speed from Henderson to the Oxford Police Department parking lot, where he was arrested with two firearms in his truck on June 8.

... The confrontations of June 8 have set off a chain of events that has led to an escalation of racially charged rhetoric and Internet com­munications that have taken on state and national proportions in the weeks since its occurrence.

The NAACP has pledged its support to Hensley and Maye. Curtis Gatewood, second vice president of the North Carolina NAACP, has said that their situation exemplifies the kind of “terrorism” against African-Americans and decent people of all colors that Finch’s alleged acts exemplify.

NAACP press releases have linked Finch, a 23-year retired Henderson police officer, to the Ku Klux Klan, a connection that Finch has denied, and Finch has received support from a nationally prominent neo­Nazi organization led by Bill White, whose American National Socialist Workers Party is based in Virginia.

You wonder if this might not just be one of those small-town incidents that got out of hand -- old rivalries and grudges having little to do with race do come bubbling up there -- especially if you were to take Finch's adamant denials at face value:
Finch was also present at Monday’s hearing, and repeated his claim that the case is not about race.

“I totally blame the Oxford Police Department for this entire mess. They brought those false charges of ethnic intimidation against me with no evidence whatsoever. I served this community and the African-American commu­nity in this town...I’m not a racist person,” Finch proclaimed.

Ah, then how does Officer Finch explain the video that turned up the next day on a Raleigh news station, showing him participating in a Klan talk show:
Police say the incident brings to attention whether Finch is a member or has been a member of the Klan.

"I've been a member of the Henderson Police Department and that's it for 23 and a half years, till I got sick and now I'm disabled," Finch claims.

Nevertheless, audio from a radio talk show, a man identifying himself as Anthony Finch of Henderson North Carolina spoke with a member of the [National Socialist Movement].

"What about your local Klan, the radio host said.

"What the Klan is doing here is pretty much inviting, trying to get people to help me here. I'm trying to get activists to help me here," Finch responded. "Everybody sees that because it's a white on black affair they don't want to get involved. Really I feel like a t shirt on a clothes line. Hung out to dry."

This guy was an officer for 23 years. Must have been fun being black when he was on patrol.

The court case has been pushed back because the judge's last name was also Finch.

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