Racist Skinheads Sentenced for Hate Crime in California

  • June 25, 2009

A judge in Kern County, California, has sentenced two members of the Oildale Peckerwoods racist skinhead gang to state prison for their recent violent actions in a local park.

On May 30, officers with the Kern County Sheriff's Department arrested four alleged racist skinheads after an altercation at the Kern River in Bakersfield. The men were each charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a hate crime and gang participation. Three of the victims were hospitalized as a result of their injuries, one requiring 50 stitches in his head after being hit with a beer bottle.

According to witnesses, the four men yelled racial epithets and white supremacist slogans at a group of Hispanic individuals in Hart Park.

Jonathan Charles Harrelson, 23, pleaded no contest to the charge of violation of civil rights causing violent injury and was sentenced to two years in state prison. Harrelson has prior convictions for assault, drug violations and obstruction. The charges of assault with a deadly weapon and gang participation were dismissed as a result of his plea arrangement.

Jacob Daniel Thomas, 24, entered a comparable deal and was sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

Ronald Burt, 47, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault. He was released with time served.

According to Lieutenant Robert Boardman, the highest ranking Kern County park ranger, there have been two other incidents at the park over the last few weeks which began with racial epithets and escalated to physical attacks.

Local authorities have voiced concern that the racist skinhead gang may consider the park their territory, and are acting out against other park-goers.


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