Wisconsin White Supremacists Face Hate Crime Charges

  • October 21, 2003

Four Wisconsin white supremacists face hate crime charges for their alleged role in what authorities describe as a racially motivated beating of a Hispanic man outside a Waukesha bar on October 5, 2003.

Kasey Arlene Bieri, 22, and her boyfriend Mark A. Davis II, 22, both from Watertown, are charged with being party to substantial battery (Bieri) and substantial battery and using a dangerous weapon (Davis). The two other suspects, Mark W. Lentz, 22, of Watertown, and Jeffrey C. Gerloski, 22, of Waukesha, are also charged with being party to substantial battery and are scheduled to appear in court later this month.

The charges against all four are being prosecuted under Wisconsin's hate crimes law.

In a preliminary hearing at the Waukesha County Courthouse on October 15, 2003, the victim, Armando Cruz, testified that Bieri made a racial slur towards him after leading him outside of Hannon's Bar. Cruz was then attacked by multiple assaulters, hit in the head with a bottle, and brutally beaten; he required seventeen stitches on his head and cheek.

Two officers, who happened to be nearby conducting a traffic stop at the time the incident, came to Cruz's aid and arrested Lentz. According to the criminal complaint, Lentz, whose hands "were completely covered with blood," told the police the group came together because "they are racially aware."

The complaint also reveals that the defendants had Nazi or skinhead tattoos and that before the attack someone at the bar overheard one of the defendants say, "I want to kill somebody tonight."

Police found white power music discs in one of the defendant's cars, which was adorned with a Confederate flag and a "white power" sticker in the rear window. Police found similar material, including white supremacist literature, a Nazi flag and white power music, in the apartment Bieri and Davis shared, as well as in Gerloski's apartment.

Two days before the beating in Waukesha, Bieri pleaded no contest to a count of disorderly conduct relating to a June incident in Madison where she spat in a white woman's face for holding hands with a black man. The criminal complaint in that case says Bieri also called the woman a "race traitor." Bieri was not charged with a hate crime as part of the plea agreement in that case.