In January 2010, Zachary Beck and two other white supremacists attacked a black man in a downtown Vancouver sports bar, yelling, “White Power!” “You’re dead!” and racist slurs.
On Friday, Beck learned the consequences of hate and civil-rights crimes: U.S. District Court in Tacoma sentenced him to 51 months’ prison, according the Justice Department.
“Fortunately, the victim was not badly injured,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny Durkan. “Others came to his aid, and together they were able to fend off the hateful attack. Hate crimes affect not just the victim; they corrode communities and send a message of fear to everyone who is labeled by the same prejudices.”
After Beck’s release, he will serve three years’ supervised release. During that time, if he commits more violations he can be returned to prison.
The Justice Department and The Columbian’s files say Beck, 32, was in a 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 white supremacist, Lawrence Silk.
Yelling death threats and racial slurs, the three went inside and attacked the black man, shouting that he shouldn’t be kissing white women. They also threatened 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 until a friend of the victim’s intervened.
When the black man released Beck, the attackers fled, shouting more racial slurs and threatening to return. The victim followed 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 convicted in June of conspiring to violate civil rights, forcefully interfering with his victim’s civil rights and witness-tampering for asking an ex-girlfriend to provide an alibi for the night of the attack, according to Columbian files.
“The Department of Justice is committed to aggressively prosecuting hate-fueled acts of violence,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “Today’s sentence makes clear that racially motivated attacks will not be tolerated in this country.”
Silk pleaded guilty to state malicious harassment charges and received a two-year sentence. Boyd pleaded guilty to a federal hate-crime charge and was sentenced in January to 34 months.
All three attackers have associated with white-supremacist groups, officials have said.
In 2003, Beck ran unsuccessfully for city council in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, “under the Aryan Nations banner,” the Justice Department said. That year, he was also accused of 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.