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History > 2016 > USA > Violence (I)

 

 

 

Three Stabbed

at Ku Klux Klan Rally

in Southern California

 

FEB. 27, 2016

The New York Times

By LIAM STACK

 

Five people were injured at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Southern California on Saturday when protesters attacked members of the white supremacist group, the police said, unleashing chaos on a popular park and leaving three people with stab wounds.

Clashes broke out as soon as members of the Klan arrived at Pearson Park in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday, said Sgt. Daron Wyatt, a spokesman for the Anaheim Police Department. He said the group had planned to stage an anti-immigration rally with the theme “white lives matter.”

“Immediately as the K.K.K. guys got out of their vehicle they were attacked by the counter-protesters,” he said. “That soon developed into several different fights between the two groups that were spread along the length of a city block.”

A group of about 30 anti-Klan protesters spent part of the morning waiting at the park and were preparing to leave when six Klan supporters arrived, dressed in black and wearing Confederate battle flag patches sewn on their clothes, said Sergeant Wyatt.

Dr. Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said he attended the rally to conduct research. But when the Klansmen arrived shortly after noon, he said, “All hell broke loose.”

“There was a period of time that it was just a mob and these Klansmen and me on the block,” said Professor Levin, who tried to separate the two sides.

He said he saw a protester smash a window and the windshield out of the Klansmen’s S.U.V. while another stood nearby with a metal pipe.

“The crowd was jostling and yelling and cursing,” he said.

“A substantial minority of this crowd were out for blood.”

Sergeant Wyatt said Klansmen stabbed three protesters, including one who was stabbed with “the decorative end of a flagpole” and rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition. The banner attached to the pole may have been a Confederate battle flag, he said.

A police officer found a knife-wielding member of the Klan standing over a bleeding protester who he claimed to have stabbed in self-defense, Sergeant Wyatt said.

Another stabbing victim was found in a car on the east side of the park.

Six people who attended the rally to support the Klan were arrested in connection with the stabbings, the police said. Seven people were arrested and accused of stomping on Klan members they had knocked to the ground, including three people who were detained as they attempted to flee from police officers.

Sergeant Wyatt said the police were aware that Klan members were planning to rally in the park on Saturday and had officers present to monitor the situation. He said that law enforcement did not anticipate that the opponents of the Klan would resort to violence.

“The K.K.K., as reprehensible as it may be, is protected by the First Amendment,” he said. “They have a right under the Constitution to say what they want to say.”

A video shared on social media after the brawl showed a man lying on the pavement being treated by emergency medical workers as he clutched his abdomen.

Nearby, a black-clad man with a Confederate flag sewn onto his shirt said they had tried to stage a rally to show that white people were “just different” from other races.

One of the Klansmen at the rally was Will Quigg, the Klan leader for the Western United States, according to Professor Levin. He said he saw Mr. Quigg get beaten up by a group of counterprotesters and intervened to try to help him.

“The last thing I said to Mr. Quigg was, ‘How does it feel to have your life possibly saved by a Jewish guy?’” Professor Levin said. “He just said, ‘Thank you.’ I could see the terror in his face.”

 

A version of this article appears in print on February 28, 2016, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: 3 Stabbed as Violence Erupts at Anaheim Klan Rally.

Three Stabbed at Ku Klux Klan Rally in Southern California,
NYT,
FEB. 27, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/us/
three-stabbed-at-ku-klux-klan-rally-in-southern-california.html

 

 

 

 

 

Woman and 2 Daughters

Fatally Stabbed

at Staten Island Motel

 

FEB. 10, 2016

The New York Times

By ASHLEY SOUTHALL

and MARC SANTORA

 

The man lingered in the hall of a Staten Island motel that has become a bleak way station for people plunged into homelessness. Finally, he entered one of the rooms. Four minutes later, he was gone, a gruesome, wrenching scene left behind.

The police said the man had stabbed a 26-year-old woman and her three daughters on Wednesday morning, killing the mother and two of the girls in a rampage that thrust the city’s homeless crisis back into the news, just two weeks after a man was killed by his roommate at a homeless shelter in East Harlem.

In the Staten Island killings, one of the dead girls was 4 months old and the other was 1 year old. Their 2-year-old sister was the sole survivor and was in critical but stable condition on Wednesday night.

The police said that the suspect is the father of one of the dead children and that he fled the motel, the Ramada in Willowbrook, more than an hour before the bodies were discovered around 10 a.m.

On Wednesday night, police officers across the city were searching for the man, identified as Michael Sykes, 23, of Brooklyn.

“As a parent, there is nothing more horrible than the loss of a child,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon at Police Headquarters. “This is an atrocious crime, and I think every parent would share my view that our hearts break when we see innocent children attacked.”

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said the attacker’s picture had been distributed to 25,000 officers across the city.

“We want to get him,” he said. “We want to get him very, very quickly.”

The police identified the mother as Rebecca Cutler of Brooklyn and said she was 26, not 28, as had been reported earlier. Officials said the youngest child was 4 months old, not 5 months old, as had been reported earlier.

Ms. Cutler’s uncle, James Mathis, said the family was stunned by the killings.

“I feel real bad, real bad,” he said in a telephone interview.

He and his wife had taken in Ms. Cutler and her two sisters when she was an infant after the girls’ parents split up. A few years ago, Ms. Cutler decided to strike out on her own.

Mr. Mathis said he last saw Ms. Cutler about three weeks ago, when she stopped by with her daughters. He learned she had been killed from the news and received a call from a reporter on Staten Island.

“My wife said, ‘It can’t be,’” Mr. Mathis said. But the worst was confirmed when Ms. Cutler’s oldest sister, Anjeny, showed up and rushed with her aunt to the hospital.

The attack drew scores of police officers to the motel at 535 North Gannon Avenue, which is one of 41 hotels the city uses to house homeless people, primarily because of a lack of space in shelters.

Mr. de Blasio said the 28 other homeless families staying at the Ramada were being moved.

Robert K. Boyce, the chief of detectives, said that Mr. Sykes had a dispute with Ms. Cutler on Tuesday, the nature of which was unclear. It ended with his taking her phone, Chief Boyce said.

Mr. Sykes had no criminal record or history of mental illness, the police said.

But Mr. Mathis, the victim’s uncle, said Mr. Sykes had come to see Ms. Cutler when she visited the Brooklyn apartment where she grew up with her aunt and uncle. But their relationship did not sit right with his wife, Helen Cutler Mathis, who prohibited the young man from entering the house.

“My wife didn’t really like him,” Mr. Mathis said in a telephone interview from the apartment, where they have lived for more than 20 years. “It didn’t look too good to her.”

According to the timeline pieced together by the police, all three children and Ms. Cutler were with Mr. Sykes at a deli near the Ramada around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

At 8 a.m., they returned to the motel.

For nearly an hour, Chief Boyce said, Mr. Sykes remained in the hallway, not joining the family.

But at 8:50 a.m., he went into the room.

“He leaves four minutes later,” Chief Boyce said.

Mr. Sykes then took a bus headed to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Around 10 a.m., a housekeeper walked into the family’s room and found Ms. Cutler dead and the children clinging to life. The police later found a bloody kitchen knife at a nearby corner, Chief Boyce said.

Ms. Cutler was declared dead on arrival at a hospital. The 1-year-old died shortly after. Several hours later, the 4-month-old was declared dead.

Around 10:30 a.m., the police said, Mr. Sykes called his mother and revealed what he had done. She alerted the police, telling them that her son had threatened to kill himself.

For Mr. de Blasio, the killing comes at a time of heightened concern about the growing number of homeless people on the streets and the safety of the city’s homeless shelters.

With many shelters at capacity, the city began placing families in hotels last September. In search of lower rates, the city has turned to hotels in distant corners of the city, like those on Staten Island.

The hotels are supposed to be short-term options for homeless people who have just entered the shelter system. The city places people while officials determine whether they qualify for long-term shelter or whether they could be helped with short-term rental assistance or are able to live with relatives. Such assessments are supposed to take about 10 days, but stays for homeless people in hotels have stretched into weeks.

The victims in Wednesday’s attack had been staying at the Ramada since December, according to city officials.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has questioned the mayor’s ability to handle the homelessness crisis, ordered the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to require the city to take steps to ensure the safety of residents in its shelter system.

Residents living near the motel said there were other hotels across Staten Island housing homeless people and they were a constant source of tension.

“The Hilton does it, everybody does it,” said a woman who identified herself only as Ms. Santana, 36. “It’s horrible. There’s no place for them to go.”

Since Mr. de Blasio took office, the number of people in shelters overseen by the Department of Homeless Services has jumped to more than 57,000 from about 53,000, peaking at 59,068.

On Wednesday, Renee, 25, a mother of two who has been living at the motel for five months and did not want to give her last name out of fear of the attacker, said she often saw Ms. Cutler and Mr. Sykes together.

She said they would sit in the motel lobby. He would not speak much. She was quicker with a laugh.

“I’ve never seen them argue,” she said. “This is why this is so shocking.”

Renee said she was on the S62 bus with Mr. Sykes on Wednesday morning. She described him as composed, giving her a slight nod.

“He was just as calm as could be,” she said. “You would never think he would do that.”

 

Nikita Stewart and Rebecca White contributed reporting. Doris Burke contributed research.

A version of this article appears in print on February 11, 2016, on page A24 of the New York edition with the headline: Woman and 2 Daughters Fatally Stabbed at Hotel.

Woman and 2 Daughters Fatally Stabbed at Staten Island Motel,
NYT,
FEB. 10, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/11/
nyregion/staten-island-hotel-stabbing.html

 

 

 

 

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