An in-depth report by ProPublica.org into the activity of a Southern California-based white supremacy group has named at least four South Bay residents including one each from Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.
The report details how the group, called the Rise Above Movement (RAM), organized neo-Nazi and white supremacist demonstrators from Southern California and traveled across the country to commit violence.
The incidents the locals took part in were among the year's biggest news stories including the August rally in Charlottesville, the pro-Trump rally in Huntington Beach in March, a clash with left-wing activists in Berkeley in April and another rally in San Bernardino in June.
One expert on hate groups called RAM an alt-right street fighting club. The members, nearly all in their 20s, look innocuous enough with close-cropped hair, clean shaven faces and white t-shirts.
"But for public events, RAM has developed its own menacing signature look, with members often wearing skull masks and goggles to ward off pepper spray. At times, RAM fighters have tied American flag bandannas around their faces to conceal their identities," the ProPublica authors write.
ProPublica reporters identified members of the group by speaking with one of the RAM leaders and with victims who were assaulted by RAM members. The reporters also analyzed video and compared it to photos on social media.
Named were Tyler Laube, 21, from Redondo Beach who reportedly assaulted journalists from the OC Weekly during a pro-Trump demonstration in Huntington Beach in March. Writer Frank John Tristan identified Laube as the individual who punched him several times in the face during a melee at the rally where he was trying to break up an altercation, according to the ProPublica report. Reportedly no charges have been filed against Laube or any of the others.
The website also identified Ben Daley, 23, from Hermosa Beach along with Tom Gillen of Torrance, 23, as those chanting "Jews will not replace us." The two later clashed violently with counter protesters at the rally in in Charlottesville in August and were also seen in Berkeley in April along with Robert Boman from Torrance who were filmed assaulting left-wing demonstrators.
Questions regarding the individuals to area police departments were not returned at the time this story was posted. As far as neo-Nazi activity in the South Bay, there really has not been an organized group, according to Robe Richester, a North Redondo Beach resident instrumental in a gang task force in the 1980s.
"In terms of skinheads, it's never really raised its head in the South Bay," Richester said, noting however that a white supremacist element was definitely around Hermosa Beach in the past, but never in an organized way.
In the weeks following the violence in Charlottesville that left one person dead, ProPublica investigators examined video from the scene and focused on one young man who was "dispensing beatings near Emancipation Park," according to the report. The person turned out to be Daley, who owns a South Bay tree trimming business.
Daley can also be seen carrying a white flag with a swastika from a photo in Charlottesville.
Each of the men identified in the report have criminal records. In 2015, for instance, Laube pleaded no contest to felony robbery charges where it was alleged he partnered with another man to rob a 7-Eleven and another convenience store at gunpoint in Redondo Beach. Boman reportedly served 18 months in prison for a 2013 Torrance robbery.
Daley, who had been arrested for gun charges, told a ProPublica reporter he would be going into the military soon.
According to ProPublica:
"Ben Daley has used his Facebook page to bash 'Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook Jew police' for taking down his 'anti Muslim posts;' to suggest that African Americans are 'shit' and that former President Obama is a leech; and to cheer the fatal shooting of a black man. 'Good riddance.' The Facebook page of another member, Robert Boman, is laden with anti-Semitic graphics, including an illustration glorifying the Nazi SS and a cartoon depicting African Americans and Muslims as rabid dogs controlled by Jews."
Note: The Beach Reporter attempted to reach the individuals named in the ProPublica report, but they did not respond.
To read the full ProPublica report click here.