'Mob Attack' Aftermath: Fundraising Emerges for Both Sides
Efforts to raise money are under way for two groups involved in a violent attack at the Ashford House in Tinley Park. Anti-racists are claiming responsibility for the brutality while officials have said white supremacists were the targets.
Radical solidarity, usually measured in bodies, bombs and bombast, is now being measured in dollars.
Donation pages have been established for people on both sides of a blitzkrieg inside the Ashford House Restaurant on Saturday.
Five Indiana men, along with 13 companions, connected with the Anti-Racist Action (ARA) movement are accused of targeting and beating an unsuspecting group of white nationalists. What supposedly began as the first meeting of the European Heritage Association (EHA)—which looks to provide resources for small business owners of their kind—ended in mob violence.
One page hoping to garner $250,000 for bail, “adequate legal representation” and the care of their families of the men arrested has reached $850 in a couple days.
Mark Potok, senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the ARA has a long-standing history of violence—one Tinley Park Patch will delve into more this Friday. Potok is also the editor in chief of the law center’s investigative magazine, The Intelligence Report.
“The ARA, you have to understand, they think they're heroes right now,” Potok said.
On Twitter, a feed dedicated to helping the “Tinley Park Five” was created. Its profile picture shows a spray-painted Pac-Man feeding on a swastika.
The author of another site is seeking donations for the men and women targeted in the attack, as well as “damages to the restaraunt (sic)” and “childrens (sic) charities.” As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised nothing.
Bail for the Five totals $975,000, 10 percent of which must be posted for release.
The defendants, three of whom are brothers, were charged each Monday with one count of felony mob action, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. Bail for Cody Sutherlin, 23, was set at $200,000 and $175,000 each for Dylan Sutherlin, 20, Alex Stuck, 22, and John Tucker, 26. The highest amount of $250,000 was pinned on Jason Sutherlin, 33.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Deno said that’s because he was convicted of an Indiana burglary in 1998. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but only served two. He successfully completed probation in 2008, Deno said.
The only other defendant with a criminal background is Cody Sutherlin, whom Deno said was convicted in 2002 of a misdemeanor operating while intoxicated charge.
Assistant Public Defender David Colaris argued for a reasonable bail, given that only one in the group had a felony conviction and even he didn’t have a history of neglecting court appearances. He also noted that the Five didn’t “have any money.”
Those raising money on the other side allege that $300,000 is needed. Damages to the restaurant, according to Ashford House owner Mike Winston, total around $15,000.
The coordinator of the victim’s fund did not immediately return requests seeking comment on the disparity between the two values.
Brandon Spiller, who spoke Tuesday with Patch about the stapled hole in his head, is the only Ashford House victim named in police complaints, though two others were reportedly hospitalized and several others targeted.
He denied the label of white nationalist, but dodged questions about which ethnic clubs—in addition to EHA—he might belong to. On the Internet, however, members of ARA allege that he is affiliated with the Council of Conservative Citizens, which describes cohabitation in black and white terms:
We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.
The Illinois Hate Crime statute is written in a way that relies not just on the “actual” sex, color or creed of the victim but the “perceived” sex, color or creed of the victim. In other words, it doesn’t necessarily matter to the court whether Spiller is a fascist. It matters whether his attackers thought he was.
According to the website of ARA, the network that has taken credit for the attack and for fundraising efforts, “The White Nationalists were targeted inside the restaurant and physically attacked, causing several injuries and completely shutting down their meeting … Anti-fascists oppose any organizing by racists and fascist in their communities.”
A spokesman from the Illinois affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union shied away from questions Wednesday relating to Saturday's attack, saying the nonprofit organization doesn't track data about hate groups. The union also stands by the tenent that such groups have a right to exist, representatives said.
A spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said the matter is still under investigation, noting that more charges, including those that may be hate-crime related, could be forthcoming. A grand jury is scheduled to convene before the next pretrial court hearing on June 12.
It also remains to be seen whether the U.S. Department of Justice will get involved, because the Five are accused of crossing state lines with the purpose of committing mob violence, and what that will mean for the pockets of the Five.
- 'We're Not Skinheads,' Says Man Hurt in Ashford House Beating
- 5 'Attackers' Appear Before County Judge, 2 'Targets' Charged Separately
- Ashford House is 'Something We Have to Stand up for,' Customer Says
- PatchChat: Concealed Carry, Gun Control and 'Anti-Facists'
- Police: Mob Attacked Specific Group of People Inside Tinley Park Restaurant