According to a press release issued by the United States Department of Justice and published on their website, on December 14th, 2007, Travis D. Massey, a Salt Lake City, Utah resident, was sentenced in a Salt Lake City federal court after having been convicted on federal hate crime charges.
Massey is a former leader of a Salt Lake City unit of a national white supremacist group that is based out of West Virginia, called National Alliance.
Massey was sentenced to 57 months in prison, followed by 36 months of federal supervised release. Massey was convicted in April along with two other codefendants, Shaun Walker and Eric Egbert, of beating a Mexican-American James Ballesteros on New Year’s Eve of 2002. The attack on Ballesteros was motivated by race.
Evidence provided that just before midnight on the night on which the incident occurred, the three men, Massey along with Walker and Egbert, were at a bar in downtown Salt Lake City named O’Shucks. They because to shout racial insults toward Ballesteros, who was the manager of the bar. They also shouted at other patrons of the bar.
As Ballesteros led the men out of the bar, they brutally attacked him, beating him with their fists and kicking him. As well as a conviction of assault, the three men were charged with a conspiracy to violate the federally protected right Ballesteros had and the other patrons of having a place of public accommodation which is free from violence based on race.
The conspiracy charge also included an allegation that Massey was involved in another assault that was like this one, but included a Native American man outside another bar, this one called the Port O’Call bar in Salt Lake City, in March of 2003.
Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division said, “Racial violence is offensive to our nation’s fundamental values…The Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting the federal laws prohibiting violent acts motivated by hate.”
U.S. Attorney Brett L. Tolman said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah, with the support of the FBI and local law enforcement agencies, has been unwavering in its commitment to investigate and aggressively prosecute violations of civil rights cases…People are free to express whatever ideas they choose, but they are not free to act on these ideas in ways that harm others or intimidate them in the free exercise of basic rights.”
The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has charged 174 defendants in 114 cases of bias-motivated crimes since 2001.
White Supremacist Sentenced for Federal Hate Crimes in Utah