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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 17, 2020

OAK CREEK MAN ARRESTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE CITIZENS’ RIGHTS IN CONNECTION WITH RACINE SYNAGOGUE VANDALISM

United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced on January 17, 2020, that Yousef O. Barasneh (age: 22) of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to violate citizens’ rights to use property free from threats and intimidation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241.

The complaint alleges that Barasneh is a member of “The Base,” a neo-Nazi, racially motivated extremist group, and that between September 15, 2019, and September 23, 2019, he conspired with other Base members to vandalize minority-owned property, including property used by Jewish citizens. As part of this conspiracy, Barasneh vandalized the Beth Israeli Sinai Congregation in Racine, Wisconsin, by spray-painting swastikas, the symbol for The Base, and anti-Semitic words on the exterior of the synagogue. If convicted of the charge, Barasneh faces up to ten years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

“The United States is committed to vigorous enforcement of civil rights statutes against individuals motivated by extremist ideologies,” stated United States Attorney Krueger.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Hughes stated: “This demonstrates the FBI’s vigilance in investigating individuals who attempt to dismiss and violate others’ Constitutional rights. Through the great coordination and investigation of multiple national JTTFs, FBI Milwaukee was able to participate and affect our portion of the investigation”

This case was investigated by the Milwaukee Federal Bureau of Investigation and Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Proctor.

A criminal complaint is only a charging document and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Updated January 17, 2020