Vancouver man convicted in racist hate-crime attack at sports bar

He’s one of three who yelled ‘White Power!’ and assaulted black man

By John Branton, Columbian Staff Reporter

Published:

Updated: June 8, 2011, 9:00 PM

 

A longtime white supremacist was convicted in federal court Wednesday for his role in a racially motivated hate-crime attack on a black man in a downtown Vancouver sports bar in January 2010.

Zachary Beck, 32, of Vancouver was convicted in a three-day bench trial of conspiracy to violate civil rights, interference with a federally protected right and witness tampering, according to a bulletin from U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan handed down the verdict in Tacoma.

The bulletin and The Columbian’s files say Beck was in the former bar at 115 E. Seventh St. when he saw the black man socializing with white friends and told the bartender, twice, that the lone black man “had to leave” or there would be trouble.

The black man, whose name hasn’t been released, stayed and Beck went outside and discussed attacking him with Kory Boyd, a Vancouver skinhead and self-described white supremacist, and a third man, Lawrence Silk.

Yelling “White Power!” “You’re dead!” and racist slurs, the three went inside and attacked the black man, shouting that he shouldn’t be kissing white women and threatening to stab him.

The African-American man defended himself by blocking Beck’s punch and grabbing him in a headlock. Meanwhile, Boyd and Silk threw bottles at the black man — and a friend of the victim intervened.

When the black man released Beck, the attackers fled, shouting more racial slurs and threatening to return.

The black man followed them out of the bar and pursued them while calling 911.

The victim suffered injuries including a cut arm, bruising on his forearms and a sore chin, officials said.

Vancouver police apprehended Silk and investigated, as did the FBI. Federal authorities arrested and charged Beck and Boyd in August 2010.

Beck was accused of witness tampering for asking a former girlfriend to provide an alibi for the night of the attack, according to Columbian files.

“There is no haven for hate crimes,” Durkan said in the bulletin issued after Beck’s conviction Wednesday. “I applaud the Vancouver residents that stood up for fairness and tried to stop Beck and his co-conspirators that night. Both the FBI and the Vancouver Police Department are to be commended for their work.”

Wednesday’s bulletin adds that Silk and Boyd “have already been convicted for their roles. Silk pleaded guilty to Washington State charges of malicious harassment and received a two-year sentence. Boyd pleaded guilty to a federal hate-crime charge and was sentenced in January 2011 to 34 months’ imprisonment.”

All three of the attackers have associated with white-supremacist groups, the bulletin said.

In 2003, Beck ran unsuccessfully for the city council in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, “under the Aryan Nations banner,” Wednesday’s bulletin said.

That same year, Beck was charged with punching a man in a parking lot after asking if he was Mexican, according to The Columbian’s files.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.<I>