FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES SENTENCING
IN ILLINOIS CIVIL RIGHTS CASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights R. Alexander Acosta and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald today announced the sentencing of an Illinois man regarding civil rights violations.
Shaun Derifield, one of two men who attacked a group of African-American students walking home from a high school football game, has been sentenced to thirty-seven months in prison, as well as required to pay a $6,000 fine. Derifield previously pled guilty to conspiring to violate the civil rights of four African-American teenagers. Derifield’s co-conspirator in the case, Harley Hermes, also pled guilty to the same conspiracy allegation and was sentenced to twenty months in prison.
“The Justice Department remains deeply committed to investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of racial violence and holding them accountable for their actions,” said R. Alexander Acosta. “This prosecution sends a strong message to those who would commit racially-motivated violence implicating federally-protected activities that such acts of terror will not be tolerated in this country.”
These convictions stemmed from an incident that occurred in Fox Lake, Illinois on August 30, 2002. Derifield and Hermes, both white supremacists, were together with other individuals at Derifield’s Fox Lake residence. The four victims were walking near the residence while returning to their homes from a high school football game. Derifield and Hermes chased after the victims, shouted racial epithets, threatened to injure and kill the victims, and demanded that the victims get out of the defendants’ town. Derifield threatened one of the victims while holding a knife to her throat.
“Today’s sentence warns those who would commit hate crimes that they will receive the punishment they deserve and alerts victims of such violence that we will vindicate their civil rights,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this matter. Michael K. Khoury, a trial attorney with the Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Haling jointly prosecuted the case.