Tom Metzger (white supremacist) : biography
Thomas Metzger (born April 9, 1938) is an American white supremacist who founded White Aryan Resistance (WAR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group. A neo-Nazi who was a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, Metzger has voiced strong opposition to immigration to the United States. In the early 1980s, he was registered with the Democratic Party and sought to be a Democrat representative for Congress and the Senate. He has been incarcerated in Los Angeles County, California and Toronto, Ontario, and has been the subject of several lawsuits and government inquiries.
Oregon civil trial
The group was eventually bankrupted as the result of a civil lawsuit centered on its involvement in the 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian man who came to the United States to attend college. In 1988, white power skinheads affiliated with WAR were convicted of killing Seraw and sent to prison. Kenneth Mieske said he and the two others killed Seraw "because of his race". Metzger declared that they did a "civic duty" by killing Seraw. Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a civil suit against him, arguing that WAR influenced Seraw's killers by encouraging their group East Side White Pride to commit violence.
Metzger accepted an option for a new trial judge during the initial stages of the trial and upon hearing the judge's name [Ancer] Haggerty in exchange for the interim appointed what he thought to be a Jewish named judge only to discover subsequently Judge Ancer Haggerty was African American.
At the trial, WAR national vice president Dave Mazzella testified how the Metzgers instructed WAR members to commit violence against minorities. Tom and John Metzger were found civilly liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability, in which one can be liable for a tort committed by a subordinate or by another person who is taking instructions. The jury returned the largest civil verdict in Oregon history at the time—$12.5 million—against Metzger and WAR. The Metzgers' house was seized, and most of WAR's profits go to paying off the judgment.
Ku Klux Klan
During the 1970s he joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which was led by David Duke, eventually becoming the Grand Dragon for the State of California. In summer 1979, he organized a patrol, the Klan Border Watch to capture illegal Mexican immigrants south of Fallbrook, California. Subsequent groups, such as Glenn Spencer's American Border Patrol and Ranch Rescue, derived from this effort. Metzger's Klan organization also had a security force which was involved in confrontations with communists and anti-Klan protesters.
Metzger's branch of the Klan split with Duke's organization in 1980 to form the "California Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.""The Real David Duke," Newsweek, November 18, 1991, Pg. 24 Also in 1979 he took Greg Withrow, of the White Student Union "under his wing," which later became the Aryan Youth Movement (AYM), for youth associated with White Aryan Resistance.
Metzger was born and raised in Indiana and is of German descent. He served in the U.S. Army from 1961 until 1964 when he moved to Southern California to work in the electronics industry. For a short time, he was a member of the right-wing group the John Birch Society, and attended anti-communist luncheon meetings sponsored by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation.
By 1968 Metzger had moved to Fallbrook, California and supported Democrat turned independent George C. Wallace for President. Metzger stopped paying taxes in the 1970s and by 1972 his tax protest over the Vietnam War destroyed his thriving television business but introduced him to other tax protesters who, he said, were "secular racists, Christian Identity racists, neo-Nazis, all kinds of people."
After the trial, Metzger's home was transferred to Seraw's estate for $121,500, while Metzger was allowed to keep $45,000 under California's Homestead Act. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League came up with the $45,000 needed to pay Metzger for the home. Metzger was warned that any damages left in the house would result in a lawsuit, and while he left it in "a mess" with cracked windows, there was no serious damage. As a result of the sale of his home, he was forced to move into an apartment.
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