Monday, April 19, 2010

Rehberg Brothers Charged in Nova Scotia Racial Intimidation Incident As Victims' Car is Burnt on Weekend

On February 21, Michelle Lyon and Shayne Howe found a cross burning outside their residence. The reaction from the "White Pride, not hate" crowd on Stormfront was as expected:

Very soon after, two suspects were arrested and charged with the crime. Today Nathan and Justin Rehberg were to enter a plea. Justin Rehnberg has plead not guilty. His brother Nathan did not enter a plea. Neither appeared in the court room:

Younger brother pleads not guilty in cross-burning trial Michael MacDonaldWindsor, N.S. — The Canadian Press   
Two young men from Avondale, N.S., face charges of public incitement of hatred, mischief, uttering threats and criminal harassment 
One of two brothers accused of burning a cross on the front lawn of an interracial couple in rural Nova Scotia pleaded not guilty Monday to a hate crime and other charges. 
Justin Rehberg, 19, will go to trial Oct. 18 in provincial court in Windsor. 
The case against his brother, Nathan Rehberg, 20, was also in court but he didn't enter a plea. He returns to court May 18. 
Neither one of the brothers appeared in court Monday. 
The young men from Avondale face charges of public incitement of hatred, criminal harassment, uttering threats and mischief. 
Police laid charges in February soon after a cross was burned in an early morning incident outside the home of Michelle Lyon and Shayne Howe in Poplar Grove, about 50 kilometres northwest of Halifax. 
Crown prosecutor Darrell Carmichael told Judge Claudine MacDonald that he had to speak to Justin Rehberg's lawyer, Christopher Manning, about a possible agreed statement of facts before Nathan Rehberg's case can move forward. 
Outside the courthouse, Mr. Carmichael said an issue could be arguments surrounding application of the hate crime law. 
“There's not a lot of law on that in Canada,” he said. “It's a rare thing to be prosecuted for a hate crime.” 
There have been only two other such charges in the last 10 years in Nova Scotia, with one case being dismissed and the accused in the other case being found not criminally responsible. 
Mr. Howe, who is black, and Ms. Lyon, who is white, told reporters they were getting frustrated with court delays. 
“I don't feel like anything is getting done,” said Mr. Howe. “It just keeps getting put over. ... We're tired. ... We want to see justice served.” 
Earlier, Ms. Lyon said the fear she experienced returned on the weekend when she learned her compact car had been gutted by fire while it was parked at a neighbouring property. 
“I'm angry, very angry,” Ms. Lyon said outside the courthouse. “The fear factor has gone back up, to say the least.” 
Police confirmed the car was torched early Saturday. A spokeswoman said the investigation is in its early stages and police couldn't confirm a link to the hate crimes case. 
The Rehbergs were earlier released on $5,000 bail and ordered to stay with their grandparents. 
Mr. Howe and Ms. Lyon have said they awoke early in the pre-dawn darkness of Feb. 21 to find a two-metre cross burning in front of their home. They say the cross had a noose attached. 
They also told police they heard someone yelling racial slurs, but they couldn't see them. 
Ms. Lyon said the couple and their five children — aged two to 17 —were left terrified by the incident and they considered moving from the area. 
But they changed their minds after arrests were made and the community rallied to support them. The family received phone calls, email messages, cards and personal visits from people across the province offering their support and expressing shock. 
A Facebook page, called We Support Shayne Howe, has more than 1,200 members. 
Ms. Lyon said the couple had not experienced any problems within the community in the past.
And how do the "White Pride not hate" crowd on Stormfront react?

Next time, don't get caught:

Now, to make matters worse, this weekend Lyon's and Howe's car was torched:
Mixed-race couple in Nova Scotia vow to leave community after car burningOliver MooreHalifax — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail  
A mixed-race couple nearly driven from their Nova Scotia community when a cross was burned on their lawn is sick of living in fear and looking to leave after their car was found in flames on the weekend. 
“This is strike two, we’re not waiting for strike three,” Michelle Lyon said Monday in a telephone interview from her home near Windsor. “When those two were arrested, we thought that was it. But now this.” 
Ms. Lyon spoke shortly after returning from court, where one of the men charged in the cross-burning entered a plea of not guilty. 
The lawyer for 19-year-old Justin Rehberg pleaded not guilty on his behalf, The Canadian Press reported, and his trial was set for October. His brother, 20-year-old Nathan Rehberg, will enter a plea next month. The men, who share a great-grandparent with Ms. Lyon, remain free on bail. 
Defence counsel for the brothers could not be reached after court for comment. 
RCMP spokeswoman Sergeant Brigdit Leger said that the vehicle fire on Saturday is being probed as suspicious. Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime. 
“At this point in time, we have not eliminated any possible motivation for this incident,” she said. 
Ms. Lyon, who is white, and her fiancé, Shayne Howe, the only black man in tiny Poplar Grove, say they were awakened in February by shouts of “die nigger die.” They say a noose was dangling from a flaming cross on their lawn, but whoever did it was gone by the time Mr. Howe could get outside. 
The incident shocked many in the province, as did the reaction of some prominent members of the black community who said they were not surprised at such overt hostility.  
One academic called it tangible evidence of the attitudes that cause some black people to call the province “the Mississippi of the North.” 
It’s a legacy Nova Scotia is trying to shake. In February, Halifax apologized for the destruction of Africville, a black community in the city’s north end. And last week, the province offered a rare free pardon to Viola Desmond, who was arrested in 1946 and is sometimes called Canada’s Rosa Parks. 
Mr. Howe and Ms. Lyon received a wave of support in person and through social media. The outpouring helped persuade them to stay in the town, but the second incident has renewed their desire to move to protect their children. 
“You shouldn’t have to live in fear, the fear [of] what’s next” Ms. Lyon said Monday. “I built this house, so I have real emotional attachment. To make the decision to leave, I had to do that for the kids’ safety.” 
She stressed that she didn’t want “to point fingers” at the alleged perpetrators of the earlier incident. But she can’t help but notice similarities. 
“It’s hard to think it couldn’t be connected,” she said. 
Ms. Lyons said that her Toyota Echo was being worked on to make it road-worthy and was parked in a relative’s driveway near her house. No one local could fail to know it was her car, she added, being the only such vehicle around and bearing a personalized licence plate. 
“The family member called me and said, ‘your car’s on fire, you’d better get down here right away,’ ” she said. “The gas tank blew, it could’ve been potentially a very dangerous situation.” 
That was in the early hours of Saturday. The car was burned so badly, she said, that firefighters were asking her what model it was.
And how do the, "White Pride not hate" crowd on Stormfront react? We think you've played this game long enough that you really don't need to guess:

As before, if anyone has any information, we would ask that it be reported to the authorities.


Anonymous said...

where is the support for this couple within their community? although i completely understand their need for safety, why the hell hasn't a group of people stood up against this bullshit? now the boneheads have exactly what they want - the only black person in the community has been driven out by stupidity and violence. those dim-witted nazi brats need to get fucked up.

Anonymous said...

There is a support group on Facebook - it's called "We Support Shayne Howe. No One Should Be Terrorized in Their Own Community!" So look that up, and join. There seems to be a considerable amount of local support for the family, though obviously much more needs to happen. The only ones who support the Rehbergs (openly, at least) are the brothers' scummy friends.