4 indicted in racist beating case at Lynnwood bar in 2018

Federal authorities announced the charges Friday against men from around the Pacific Northwest.

Jason DeSimas (Federal Way Mirror)

Jason DeSimas (Federal Way Mirror)

LYNNWOOD — A federal grand jury indicted four white supremacists who were accused of a racist attack on a Black DJ at a bar north of Lynnwood in 2018, prosecutors announced Friday.

They arrived as part of a caravan of sorts to visit the site of a Whidbey Island cabin where Robert Jay Mathews, the neo-Nazi leader of the violent hate group The Order, died in a gunfight with dozens of federal agents on Dec. 8, 1984. It has become a far-right holiday, known as Martyr’s Day.

On a weekend marking the 34th anniversary of Mathews’ death, a group of men wearing emblems linked to a hate group stopped at the Rec Room Bar and Grill on Highway 99.

The defendants came from all around the Pacific Northwest: Jason “Gravy” DeSimas, 46, of Tacoma; Daniel Dorson, 25, of Oregon; Randy Smith, 40, of Oregon; and Jason Stanley, 44, of Idaho.

Many details about the new federal charges remain under seal, aside from basic allegations that the four men attacked the DJ while shouting the N-word.

According to Snohomish County sheriff’s reports from 2018, a man in their group took over the DJ’s gear without permission, so the DJ shut off the music and ordered them to leave. They surrounded him. Men punched and kicked him while making “derogatory comments about his actual and perceived race,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

Police reports say they beat him to the ground and stomped him, while allegedly saying, “We will see you, (N-word),” and, “It’s over for you.”

The Everett man was in “complete fear for his life,” a sheriff’s deputy wrote at the time. The DJ suffered a swollen eye and other injuries. Another Everett man, who is Asian American, was assaulted, too, deputies wrote. The federal indictment states a third person, identified only by initials, was also injured.

The two Oregon men were identified as suspects two years ago. Dorson’s name had been in the news before, for beating a man unconscious with a skateboard in Portland in 2013. Of the four, court records give the clearest picture of Dorson’s alleged actions in December 2018.

“In video recordings of the incident, Dorson is depicted actively assaulting the victims by striking downward with his arms, over and over,” reads a motion to detain him filed Friday in federal court in Oregon.

At the time of his arrest in 2018, he wore a “flight jacket” with patches of “the white supremacist group Crew 38, which is an auxiliary organization to the Hammerskin Nation, a large and well-organized group that promotes racism and violence toward nonwhite individuals,” according to the court papers.

DeSimas and Stanley had not been publicly identified as suspects until now.

DeSimas, who has operated at least two tattoo parlors in Tacoma, has faced pushback in the community for years due to his not-so-secret affiliation with the Hammerskins.

Pierce County court records show DeSimas has a long rap sheet dating back to his teens in Las Vegas. Over the past decade he has been convicted of possessing heroin, identity theft, auto theft and forgery. Only one prior conviction was violent, a third-degree assault from 2003 in King County.

Six other people — from all across the country — were detained as the group scattered and fled the Rec Room early Dec. 9, 2018. In a news release, the sheriff’s office described all of them as “self-professed members of a neo-Nazi skinhead group.” Seven men and one woman were booked into the Snohomish County Jail that night, including Dorson and Smith.

No hate-crime charges have been announced for the remaining six people. One of the men, Vincent Nutter, 30, of Bothell, was charged with a related offense on Dec. 3 in Snohomish County District Court. He’s accused of driving with a suspended license in the first degree that night in 2018.

The statute of limitations was coming up.

In federal courts, grand jury proceedings have been stalled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four men were indicted on four counts of a federal hate crime. They’re also charged with one count each of making false statements to the FBI.

According to prosecutors, DeSimas claimed no one in the group used a racial slur in the assault. Dorson claimed he had not planned to attend the Martyr’s Day event and that he did not own a jacket showing affiliation with white supremacists. Smith claimed his knuckles were not bloodied in the fight. And Stanley claimed he was in another state that day.

Smith and Stanley were in custody in their home states Friday on unrelated charges. Both were expected to be brought to Washington for arraignment in federal court. Dorson was set for arraignment Friday in Oregon.

DeSimas was not in custody as of Friday.

Department of Justice regional spokesperson Emily Langlie said she could not comment on the status of other people arrested that night.

Search warrants revealed deputies seized objects promoting hate groups — patches, business cards, a hoodie — from the eight who were initially detained.

U.S. Attorney Brian Moran released a statement upon announcing the charges Friday.

“Whether it is ‘The Order’ in the 1980s, the ‘Atomwaffen’ of today, or this group accused of assaulting a Black man at a local business,” he said, “these defendants will be held accountable for their criminal conduct.”

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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