A California man alleged to belong to a neo-Nazi group has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly attacking a neighbor while shouting homophobic slurs at the victim.
Robert Frank Wilson, 40, of Chula Vista, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of battery, with a bias enhancement for attacking the victim due to their real or perceived sexual orientation, for an incident that occurred on Nov. 10, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors claim that Wilson used his vehicle to block his neighbor’s driveway, then got out of the vehicle and began yelling homophobic slurs at the victim. At one point, Wilson allegedly reached into the window of the victim’s vehicle and struck him in the face.
If convicted, Wilson could face up to three years and six months in prison. However, for the bias enhancement, prosecutors must prove that Wilson’s actions were motivated by prejudice against or animus towards the victim because of his sexual orientation.
Wilson also faces a citation for a municipal code violation, stemming from a Dec. 18 incident, in which he allegedly, as part of a group, hung an anti-Semitic banner from an overpass on Interstate 805 in San Diego.
The banner read: “Jewish supremacy censors speech about Jewish supremacy,” and invited readers to visit the website of the Goyim Defense League.
The Neo-Nazi Goyim Defense League has done it again: an antisemitic banner was hung over a bridge on Adams Ave in San Diego over the weekend.
Hanging hateful signs with antisemitic messages over highways has become a very popular method among far-right groups in recent years. pic.twitter.com/pe1bwx76b5
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) December 20, 2021
The Anti-Defamation League, an advocacy organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and other forms of hate, has claimed that the Goyim Defense League is a “known neo-Nazi group” made up of “a small network of virulently antisemitic provocateurs” whose “overarching goal is to cast aspersions on Jews and spread antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories.”
The ADL alleges that the Goyim Defense League has engaged in Holocaust denial, blamed Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic and propagated other anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The group allegedly targeted private homes in at least eight states with flyers claiming that “every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The ADL’s San Diego chapter released a statement saying it was pleased with the hate crime charge against Wilson.
“We at ADL know that hate is hate and an attack against one group is an attack against all,” the organization said.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement that prosecuting hate crimes is a priority for her office, noting that her office has filed 30 hate crime cases this year.
“This case and these events demonstrate that those who are motivated by prejudice often spread their hate around to various groups, attacking our neighbors on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation or other grounds,” Stephan said in the statement.
“Hate against one group is a threat to everyone and we won’t tolerate these crimes in our community. Anyone considering committing a hate crime should think again as they will be investigated, prosecuted and held accountable under the law.”
Wilson is next scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 5, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 19.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!