November 19, 23-year-old "skinhead" Shaun Derifield
was fined and maximally sentenced to 37 months in prison for
"conspiring to violate the civil rights of four African-American
is, on the evening of August 30, 2002, he and two companions
ran up to 4 teenagers innocently walking home from a Friday
night football game in a small town in Illinois, yelling racial
epithets at them. When they scattered, he chased down one
of the girls, held a knife to her throat, and screamed "Remember
our faces! This is our town and you better get out before
we kill you!" Then, afraid the police were on their way,
2 days, the three were picked up by the police. One, a minor,
was sentenced to prison on state charges. Another pled guilty,
cooperated with the investigation, and was sentenced to 20
months in federal prison in early November. Derifield's sentencing
closes the book on the case. But it sure doesn't close the
books on the harm he did to four innocent teenagers.
did the judge say? U.S. District Judge Ruben Casillo
said, "This is one of the most abhorrent crimes I have
ever seen prosecuted in federal court. Those moments of terror
are going to burn in the memories of the victims forever.”
did the victim's mother say? She said to Mr. Derifield
in court: "My home is very loving. You have torn that
apart. My family is not the same."
for these reasons, and the government's zero tolerance policy
on hate crimes, that the FBI is the lead federal agency responsible
for investigating incidents of racial or ethnic violence.
In a case such as this, local police immediately step in,
open an investigation, and make arrests. But then they call
the FBI -- because we can conduct an investigation that takes
the perpetrators to federal court, where much higher penalties
can often be imposed to take dangerous people off our streets.
to learn more about the FBI's civil rights program?
Please visit the Civil
Rights Section and view the most recent hate
Department of Justice Press Release