Skinheads called 'street warriors for the Klan groups' in U.S. 'State director' of Skinhead group has ties to known Md. Klan official.

February 14, 1991|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Evening Sun Staff

A tall, blond youth with stubble on his head, tattoos on his body and dried blood on his knuckles proclaims his message of white pride from the front porch of a house in Hampden.

He is Brian "Wiggy" Wigfield, the self-proclaimed "state director" of a group that calls itself the Eastern Hammer Skinheads, and he is staying at the home of Leo Joseph Rossiter, identified by federal prosecutors in 1989 as an official in a Maryland Ku Klux Klan faction.

Police say the Skinhead organization has fewer than two dozen members. But it has gained the spotlight by distributing leaflets in the Hampden area, where the Robert Poole Middle School has been the focus of racial tension.

Wigfield and his Skinhead friends insist that their message of white pride has been distorted by their enemies in the media and the civil rights establishment.

"We're not violent; we're for love for our race," says Wigfield, who refuses to say where he is from. "They can attack us all they want, but they will never get anywhere."

"We're the heroes of the white working class," declares another youth, who refuses to identify himself. On the back of his neck is a tattoo of crossed hammers.

Wigfield, too, argues that the Eastern Hammer Skinheads are simply working for "the preservation of the white working class. White pride."

But he ends the interview by handing out a batch of literature that includes crude fliers from neo-Nazi groups around the country, such as the "SS Action Group" and the "White Aryan Resistance."

The local group's own leaflets demean minorities and feature the slogans "Fight For Your Race" and "Eastern Hammer Skinheads For a Whiter Brighter World."

According to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, Skinhead groups were responsible for 87 racial incidents in 21 states in 1990.

Throughout Maryland, various Skinhead groups were involved in 37 of the 576 ethnic incidents reported by the State Police in the first six months of 1990.

The Atlanta-based Center for Democratic Renewal, which keeps tabs on groups that espouse racial hatred, has detected a growing connection between some bands of Skinheads and older organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.

These Skinheads are the "street warriors for the Klan groups," says Leonard Zeskind, the center's research director. "These kids like to fight."

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