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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A federal grand jury in Boise, Idaho has indicted three Nampa, Idaho, men for physically assaulting Hispanic residents last summer, and chasing Hispanic children through the street while yelling racial slurs, the Justice Department announced. The six count indictment, presented yesterday and unsealed today, charges Scott Brooke, 18, Jack David Carter, 18, and Chris Maurer, 19, with violating federal civil rights laws as well as conspiracy and using a sawed-off shotgun to commit a crime of violence. "This administration is firmly committed to putting an end to racial violence," said Attorney General Janet Reno. The indictment stems from a series of alleged racially motivated attacks against several Hispanic men, women and children in Nampa last summer. Three youths were also charged with committing acts of juvenile delinquency in connection with the same civil rights offenses. Federal law prohibits the release of names or photographs of persons charged as juveniles. "Hate crimes reflect a cancer of the soul and have no place in our society," said Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Bill Lann Lee. "Our constitution and laws protect the right of all people to go about their daily lives free from intimidation and racial assaults. We will always be vigilant in our efforts to prosecute those who use hatred and violence in an effort to divide our communities." Count one of the indictment alleges that from December 1996 through August 1, 1997, the defendants and others conspired to interfere with the fair housing rights of Hispanic residents of Nampa. Among other things, the conspiracy count alleges that the individuals: physically assaulted Hispanics at or near their homes on five occasions in the summer of 1997, including on two occasions by striking their victims with firearms;

chased a 14-year-old and a nine-year-old Hispanic child through the streets of the children's Nampa neighborhood, yelling racial slurs; and,

attacked two Hispanic men as they arrived to visit Hispanic friends at their home in Nampa, yelling racial slurs and telling their victims that they should go back to Mexico.

"I can think of nothing more important to the people of Idaho than protecting their basic right to live peacefully in their neighborhoods," said Betty Richardson, U.S. Attorney in Idaho. "We need to ensure that all members of our community are safe, regardless of their race, color, religion or ethnicity." Counts two, three and four of the indictment charge the six

individuals with specific instances of using force or the threat of force to interfere with Hispanic residents' housing rights, including a July 4, 1997, assault on an Hispanic man and woman as they were moving in with the man's parents in Nampa. Count five of the indictment charges the defendants with using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. Count six of the indictment alleges that the firearm used by the defendants to strike their victim during a July 13, 1997, assault was an illegal and unregistered sawed-off shotgun. If convicted on the four criminal civil rights charges, the adult defendants each face a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine per count. If convicted on the federal weapons offenses, the adult defendants each face an additional mandatory 10 years imprisonment. An indictment is only a charge, and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. "The people of Canyon County simply will not tolerate criminal conduct based on racial hatred," stated Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney David L. Young. "Where, as here, federal law and procedure provide the best forum for prosecution, we will do all that we can to ensure that a prosecution in federal court is successful." The Nampa Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation worked together over the last year in conducting the investigation. The Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney's Office is assisting the United States Attorney's Office and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in prosecuting the case. "The investigation was a model of cooperation between state and federal law enforcement agencies," said Betty Richardson, the U.S. Attorney in Idaho. Tom Kubic, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake Field Division, which covers Idaho, also praised the investigative efforts. "This investigation and prosecution demonstrate that on cases of utmost urgency to our community the FBI and local law enforcement, such as the Nampa Police Department, will combine their resources to conduct the most thorough examination of the evidence possible. The FBI is committed to working in partnership with local law enforcement to pursue this kind of crime." Last year, Attorney General Reno launched a Justice Department initiative to fight hate crimes across the country. As part of that initiative, regional task forces were created to focus on hate crimes. Next Wednesday, lead prosecutors from each task force will participate in a conference in Washington, D.C. to coordinate their efforts nationwide. No trial date has been set. # # #