Five at Pima County Jail are accused of white supremacy activities at the jail.
By IRENE HSIAO
Three of the five inmates accused of white supremacy activities at the Pima County Jail describe themselves as advocates of different types of “separatist” beliefs and say they are not banding together to promote their ideas.
Another inmate said he isn’t affiliated with white supremacy beliefs and the other has gone back to prison.
Some feel they’re being persecuted for their beliefs. The four who talked to a Tucson Citizen reporter yesterday said they knew of no extortion attempts and denied attempts at a jail takeover feared by administrators.
A corrections officer flanked each handcuffed inmate as he was interviewed, separately from the others, at the main Pima County Jail, 1270 W. Silverlake Road. They are all charged with 11 counts, including participating in a criminal activity syndicate and making threats.
Murder suspect David Augustine Higdon, 22, said the term white supremacy is misused and is used to defame someone. He wants to preserve his heritage, not put down other races, he said.
“It’s not revolving around ethnocentric beliefs,” he said. “I don’t need a superiority complex. Some people do.”
The native Tucsonan is accused of beating Philip Walsted, a gay man, to death in Tucson. He is awaiting a June trial.
His separatist beliefs don’t address homosexuality and some of his gay friends plan to attend his trial, Higdon said.
Every race should have its own homeland, he said.
Higdon said he developed his beliefs on a larger scale in the last couple of years, after reading books including David Duke’s “My Awakening.” He also said he studied with Black Muslims and Latino activists before he was incarcerated.
“I’m for one race, one nation,” he said. “I don’t advocate violence, I don’t advocate hatred.”
On one arm Higdon has “FTW,” which he says stands for Forever Truly White, tattooed, along with the word German, written in elaborate letters along the length of the forearm. A tattoo on the other arm says “Nature.”
An old German philosophy is to follow nature’s law, and one of nature’s highest laws is self-preservation and preservation of the species, Higdon said. In this case, it means humans should keep their bloodlines pure, he said.
Higdon says he is not affiliated with any groups. “I’m not an ancestral WAR (White Aryan Resistance) skin” and “I’m not a neo-Nazi” as other media reported, he said.
Black Muslims, Mestizos or the Mexican Mafia, Skinheads and the Aryan Brotherhood groups exist in the Douglas prison where he stayed for a few months, Higdon said.
In the county jail, he lives in 4 Alpha, a pod with 36 men in single cells under maximum security.
The other defendants in the white supremacy case are Clinton Michael Lucky, 23; Keith Royal Phillips, 26; Marshall Earl Thompson, 22; and Dennis Michael Levis, 21.
Lucky said his separatist beliefs are based on the 14 words “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
“By no means do I consider myself above or beyond anyone else,” he said. Other cultures are encouraged to take pride in themselves, but not white people, he said. “I’m Irish, I’m not a Nazi, you know what I mean?” he added. “You can’t have a like belief and communicate about it?”
He was in prison for possession of marijuana and theft in Maricopa County. He got an aggravated assault charge in prison and is being held in the county jail for trial on that charge.
Phillips and Levis, who allegedly assaulted corrections officers in January, don’t deny it but said they did it for personal reasons.
Phillips is in jail for resentencing on a Pima County murder conviction. He said he doesn’t have white supremacy beliefs.
“Do you have any idea who my co-defendant is?” he asked.
His co-defendant in the fatal shooting of Kevin Hendricks at Famous Sam’s, 3031 W. Valencia Road, is Marcus LaSalle Finch, who is black. Finch is a close friend, Phillips said.
“I’m a selfish man. I don’t do anything for anyone else, let alone a political movement,” he said.
Levis, who likes to keep his hair short, described himself as skinhead and national socialist. His beliefs are connected to neo-Nazism, he said. But he claims, “There’s no syndicate; all my decisions are solely on my own.”
He was sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison for armed robbery and aggravated assault in Pima County and is in jail after being charged with assaulting a corrections officer.
PHOTO CREDIT: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson Citizen
CUTLINE: Clinton Lucky, a self-proclaimed separatist, is accused of affiliating with a white supremacy group in the Pima County Jail and is awaiting trial on an aggravated assault charge.
CUTLINE: David Higdon, a self-proclaimed separatist, is accused of being affiliated with a white supremacy group in the Pima County Jail. He is up for trial in June in the beating death of Philip Walsted, a gay man.