Extremist Groups See Decline in Numbers Not Violence, Some Local - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Extremist Groups See Decline in Numbers Not Violence, Some Local

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Schmidt Schmidt

Nebraska has a total of nine extremist groups including one in central Nebraska.

Nationally those groups are "leaner and meaner" than ever before. New stats out this week show that while the numbers may have fallen in the last year, violence from these groups isn't declining.

The Southern Poverty Law Center referred specifically to Nebraska's own "Crew 41" which they call a violent racist skinhead gang. The gang started in Pleasanton, north of Kearney.

Crew 41 founder Jonathan Schmidt was recently was cleared of any wrong-doing for stomping a man's skull last summer.

Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, believes hate groups bay be declining in size but not violence due to a variety of factors.

"These groups were disheartened by the reelection of Barack Obama. (That) was a part of it. A lot of things have gone not their way like same-sex marriage," said Potok.

"At the same time the economy has gotten better which has sucked some of the anger out of the movement and law enforcement has cracked down on a lot of these groups fairly hard in the last two or three years," he said.

Potok feels concern stemming from Schmidt's release from jail. He fears the group may rekindle now that their leader is back on the streets.

When NTV reached out to Schmidt for comment, he said "I told the truth in my trial… and now I no longer live in Nebraska." 

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