INVERNESS, Fla. — As reported hateCrimes and incidents are on the rise. There is a need to address them. toShine a light on growth ofWhite supremacy inFlorida and your efforts to stop it.
Over the last three-years, the Anti-Defamation League added many more members to its ranks. of new symbols toThe Hate Symbols Database contains over 200 images.
“What we’re seeing is a normalization of extremist groups,” Yael Hershfield, ADL’s Southern Division Director of Incident Response told the I-Team.
State of Hate series
The I-Team met with the owners of a tattoo studio in Citrus County to talk about the steps they’ve taken to combat growing displays of hate in their community.
“We’re in a small town. Everybody knows each other,” Twistid Ink Co-Owner Danny Belden said. “The motto is, ‘A small town done right.’ Never thought I was going to have to deal with this. Never ever. And then it came through the door and I was stuck. I didn’t know what to do.”
Belden grew up inInverness, county seat ofCitrus County is home to a large population ofAbout 7,500 people. According to toThe current census data shows that 87.5 percent of the population is eligible. ofCitrus is the whitest county because these people identify as “white only.” inThe state.
Inverness, the county seat ofCitrus County
Belden stated, “We were just baffled it happened here,” describing an encounter that he has cherished for many years.
In “small-town done right,” he stated that something was wrong when a woman came. inRequesting a specific tattoo.
“I had a consult with somebody and I didn’t know better. The consultation was over and we were all set. toStart drawing the piece. I made an appointment with my second client, and he arrived. inSeeing what I was. working on and he was like — don’t do that,” Belden said.
Danny Belden, Co-Owner of Twistid Ink
Retired law enforcement officers were the client who issued the warning.
Belden said, “He saved me from opening up the door for something which was really terrible.”
The requested tattooIs a symbol ofOne of the white supremacist groups. of53 hateGroups the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC), tracks in Florida.
ABC Action News will not identify individuals or groups unless it is possible. inA great effort to deny hateA platform can be broken down into groups.
“The first time that we dealt with it, inIt really caught us off guard, in all honesty. We didn’t even know it was there. in our backyard,” Belden said. Belden said, “The guy tried actually.” toIt could be used as a logo to promote his business. However, that was not the case. It wasn’t even close.”
Belden stated that the man was mentioned as wanting to bring eight more clients inWho else wanted the exact same thing? tattoo.
Belden stated that knowing the intent behind an act of violence is a sign of a person’s intelligence. tattooIt is vital toHe doesn’t want to be there toReprezent hate as part ofHis business. Popular crosses, numbers, and Norse symbol inViking shows, which are also being utilized by hate groups.
“Now I have toFind out which people do it for pop culture and which ones for real. hateBelden added that he feels pressure and said that the group was a good place to be.” toProtect his family, business, and clients.
“My wife and I have worked very hard toHe stated, “It is important to have a well-respected business. This will make it a safe place for all.”
After the difficult call, Belden was able to learn from his wife Elisha. toRecognize symbols of hate.
“My wife has a book. And there’s been times where I have toGo toBelden advised that you read the book and double-check all information.
ADL has a hateThe symbols database provides an overview of 200+ symbols.
“I think there’s 63 or 64 pages inElisha showed Elisha the I-Team this by flipping through a copy of a printout ofADL’s Hate Symbols Database. “That’s really terrifying to know that it’s inYour community. It’s inYour backyard. Your next-door neighbor. Your co-worker. Anyone can be involved inThese are the groups.
Elisha Belden, Co-Owner of Twistid Ink
ADL’s hate symbols database includes hundreds ofimages, where it is possible to search everything starting at general hateSignificance tonumeric hateSigns and symbols that are racist toLearn about the meanings of each word.
ADL’s Hate Symbols Database states that:
“This database gives an overview ofMany ofThese are the most used symbols in a variety ofWhite supremacist movements and groups, as well other types of white supremacists of hate groups.”
Hershfield from the ADL said that the database can be used for law enforcement purposes when they respond to a crime scene.
“There might be symbols, whether it’s graffiti or certain elements, that would provide information toPolice officers who in”In fact, this crime was biased-motivated,” she stated.
Yael Hershfield is the Anti-Defamation League’s Southern Director. of Incident Response.
Hershfield stated that the symbols are used toForm an affiliation, and then share the hateful ideology they are part of to• Recruit.
“It’s a way toGet to know someone. toTalk to someone. to explain the symbols, they’re curious, and open a dialogue,” she told the I-Team.
Hershfield claimed that the ADL has experienced an increase but also a decrease. inThe usage of hateSymbols but an increase inSpreading of hateful messages.
“We have witnessed an increase, an accelerated rise. ofHateful flyers are being distributed in every neighborhood of the state ofFlorida and one-way of”This symbol can be used to identify the group,” she stated.
“It is becoming more common” toCheck out the display of hate lately,” Belden said. “And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.” to stop.”
“All people have responsibility. For people that don’t behave that way, that don’t have those beliefs, toKind ofLet the fun continue! to happen, I don’t think that that’s okay,” Elisha said. “It’s really important that — those of us that don’t share those beliefs, stand up and protect the people that are kind of being trampled on.”
You can be a victim or witness to the crime. ofA hateCrime or incident? Please contact your local police department or report it toYou can call 1-800-CALL-FBI to report a problem or send a tip at tips.fbi.gov.
Organizations Fighting Hate Groups & Resources
If you have a story you think the I-Team should investigate, email [email protected].
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