William Scott Planer has joined the ever-expanding list of white supremacists vandalizing and attacking Jewish institutions nationwide.
Planer, who lives in Denver, was arrested on July 14, 2017 for affixing a “Fight Terror, Nuke Israel” sticker to the door of the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is being held at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado on a $500,000 bond as a fugitive from justice for felony charges in California. The charges, assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a riot, stem from Planer’s alleged attack on a protester during a clash at a June 2016 white supremacist march in Sacramento, California.
Planer’s arrest comes as white supremacists appear to be increasingly focused on carrying out explicitly anti-Semitic vandalism and plots.
Originally from Sacramento, Planer has been on the Center on Extremism’s radar for a number of years. He is associated with at least two known white supremacist groups, including the Golden State Skinheads (GSS), a California-based racist skinhead crew founded in 2003, and the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), a white supremacist group led by Matthew Heimbach and Matt Parrott.
Just before the previously mentioned 2016 march in Sacramento, which was organized by GSS and TWP, Heimbach posted an image on Twitter, writing, “Just some of our brave comrades preparing to march today in California. Hail the TWP and GSS. United, we will win!” The event quickly degenerated into a bloody brawl between the racists and a larger group of left-wing counter-demonstrators, which left about 10 people injured.
Planer also traveled to Pikeville, Kentucky, to attend an April 29, 2017, white supremacist rally organized by the TWP and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement. During the gathering, Planer, wearing a shirt bearing the TWP emblem, repeatedly gave the Nazi salute.
More recently, Planer has participated in events organized by other right-wing groups. On June 3, 2017, Planer was in Boulder, Colorado, rallying with the Proud Boys, an alt lite group that embraces misogyny and xenophobia and abhors “political correctness” and the left. During the event, he wore a t-shirt adorned with a neo-Nazi Totenkopf symbol and the words, “Proud to be fascist, anti-Antifa.” The Colorado Proud Boys have specifically disavowed Planer.
A week later, Planer, wearing a Traditionalist Worker Party t-shirt, attended an anti-Muslim “March Against Sharia” event in Denver, Colorado, organized by the anti-Muslim group ACT for America.
Planer joins a growing list of white supremacists linked to attacks on and threats against Jewish institutions. In addition to launching an unprecedented campaign of distributing racist and anti-Semitic flyers on college campuses and beyond, white supremacists are increasingly targeting Jewish institutions, particularly synagogues.
The white supremacist group Vanguard America has claimed responsibility for a number of the attacks.
Among the most recently reported vandalism and plots against Jewish institutions that are linked to white supremacists:
- July 2017: A Vanguard America banner with the anti-Semitic slur, “(((HEEBS))) will not divide us,” is discovered at the Holocaust memorial in Lakewood, New Jersey.
- July 2017: Congregants at two Houston-area synagogues find anti-Semitic fliers from Vanguard America.
- June 2017: A flier from the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer was attached to the sign at Congregation Beth Shalom synagogue in Carmichael, California.
- June 2017: Neo-Nazi Brandon Russell, who was arrested when officers found explosives in his Florida apartment while investigating the death of Russell’s two roommates, planned to use explosives to attack civilians, nuclear facilities and synagogues, according to federal prosecutors.
- March 2017: The new white supremacist group Aryan Underground posted several fliers at Temple Beth El in Riverside, California.
- March 2017: Vanguard America stickers and fliers were left at two synagogues in Shreveport, Louisiana. The stickers read, “America is a white nation.” The fliers included Vanguard’s website. The group later tweeted images of one of the vandals in front the Reform Congregation in Shreveport. A similar action was also reported at a local mosque.
- Feb 2017: Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell of South Carolina is accused of plotting an attack on a synagogue “in the spirit of Dylann Roof,” federal authorities say. McDowell was a member of a Ku Klux Klan group and previously associated with racist skinhead gangs.
- Feb 2017: Chicago Loop Synagogue is vandalized with swastikas and broken window. Stuart Wright, who was arrested for the crime in March, has a swastika tattoo on one shoulder.