TACOMA, Wash. - The Justice Department announced today that Zachary Beck was sentenced to 51 months in prison for civil rights crimes related to his participation in a racially-motivated attack on an African-American man in Vancouver, Wash., in January 2010. Beck was also sentenced to three years supervised release. The sentencing took place in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
According to court documents, Beck and his co-conspirators, Kory Boyd and Lawrence Silk, attacked an African-American man in a Vancouver sports bar on Jan. 7, 2010, because of the man’s race. Beck, Boyd and Silk each have associated with white supremacist organizations. Beck ran for city council in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 2003 under the Aryan Nations banner. On Jan. 7, 2010, Beck saw an African-American man socializing with white friends in Captain’s Sports Bar in Vancouver. Beck twice told the bartender that the man should leave or there would be trouble. When the man did not leave, Beck met Boyd and Silk outside the bar and agreed to attack the man inside. Beck led Boyd and Silk back into the bar and confronted the man, who was the only black man in the bar. Beck told the man that he should have left, and then swung his fist at the man’s head. The man successfully defended himself; however, Boyd and Silk threw bottles at the man and shouted racial epithets at him. Directly after, Beck, Boyd and Silk left the bar shouting more racial slurs and promising to return. The man whom they attacked followed them out of the bar and pursued them while calling 911. The Vancouver Police apprehended Silk, and federal authorities later charged and arrested Beck and Boyd.
“The Department of Justice is committed to aggressively prosecuting hate-fueled acts of violence,” said Thomas E. 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.”
“Fortunately, the victim was not badly injured,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny A. 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.”
Beck waived his right to a jury, and after a trial, federal Judge Robert J. Bryan on June 7, 2011, found Beck guilty of conspiring to violate the civil rights of an African-American man; forcefully interfering with the man’s civil rights; and trying to persuade a witness to lie about the crimes. 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 in prison.
The case was investigated by Vancouver Police and the FBI, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Miyake and Trial Attorney Edward Caspar from Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.