By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
When Orlando Diaz returned to his mobile home recently from a two-week vacation in Mexico, he found the remnants of what looked like a skinhead hoedown.
On the outside, the house looked like any of the other residences in this tidy, pretty mobile home community in north Phoenix. But inside, the abode had been ransacked and violated, the walls scrawled with obscene juvenilia and neo-Nazi scribblings: swastikas, KKK hats, and "14/88," the "14" being white supremacist shorthand for "the 14 words," a racist credo authored by one of the godfathers of the neo-Nazi movement, David Lane, and "88" being the numeric code for the eighth letter of the alphabet, indicating "HH," or "Heil Hitler."
Diaz, 31, and his wife took their three small children to a family member's house to stay while they spent the next couple of days cleaning up the mess left by the vandals. The damage was extensive — and disturbing. Family photographs were painted over. The contents of the kitchen had been emptied onto the floor and on the dining room table: eggs, milk, juice, you name it. A water nozzle, like the kind used for cleaning dishes in the sink, had been taped down to make water continually spray onto the kitchen floor.
Whoever did this caused thousands of dollars of damage to the home the Diaz family had been living in for the past nine months. Items such as a computer and Diaz's son's Xbox were stolen. Even Diaz's fish tank did not escape the intruders' spite.
"The fish were black when I left," explained Diaz, as we sat in his living room. "When I came back, they had turned red and been killed from all the stuff they put in there. Brake fuel. Baby shampoo. Cooking oil. Anything they could find."
Cops from the Phoenix Police Department discovered the scene while the Diazes were away, tipped off by a neighbor who reported an open front door. Actually, the perpetrators got in by forcing a laundry door in the back. Along with other vulgarities — including a drawing of a Mexican mowing a lawn and drinking beer, random drawings of penises, graffiti that read "Pay back is a bitch, wetback," crude "SS" symbols, and the words "white power" painted on the TV and carpet — there was a note from one of the villains (assuming there was more than one), thanking Diaz for letting them party in his house while he was away.
Since Univision broke the story not long after the Diazes returned, some normalcy has returned to their home. Orlando Diaz has painted over, or cleaned off, all the offending images, including a swastika and "14/88" on a table in his children's bedroom. He sometimes checks in with the police to see how the investigation is going. The Phoenix cops are looking at it as a hate crime. They lifted prints from several items, including a child's doll hung from the ceiling with a meat cleaver stuck in its neck.
Diaz shared photos of the destruction and vandalism. He said his wife initially wanted to abandon the home and move into an apartment. And after seeing the images, I can understand why. He prevailed upon her not to move, that it was their house and they had to go on with their lives.
But the mental scars are still fresh. The children have asked him why they were targeted, but he has no definite answers. The Bonaventure Mobile Home Community is mixed, with both Anglo and Mexican families. His neighbors across the street are Hispanic. And he related that he's had no beefs with anyone who would have done this to his home.
For the bigoted nativists out there who are no doubt wondering, Diaz is an American citizen, born in Chicago. His wife is a legal permanent resident. Their children, including a cute, playful toddler of a year and a half, were all born in Arizona. Diaz is a social worker. His wife is employed by a company that cleans buildings.
They moved from the west side of Phoenix to the mobile home park because it was supposed to be a better area. But now, he has trouble sleeping at night. You can see that in his eyes, even before he tells you.
"If I go to sleep with my kids, I don't know what's going to happen," he admits with a worried look. "They might start a fire, or start throwing rocks in the windows. What's going to be the next step?"
I can't dismiss what's happened to the Diazes as a random incident, even if it turns out to be the work of a neighborhood delinquent. Anecdotally, I hear of too many occurrences involving hate groups or white supremacists. Whether it's a local member of the National Socialist Movement boasting on the neo-Nazi site Stormfront.org that he and his pals will be fliering Phoenix with hate literature; a skinhead barbecue in Papago Park; last September's neo-Nazi Oi Fest in Tonopah, featuring white-power bands; or accounts of the infiltration of more mainstream conservative groups by local skinheads.
Granted, Arizona's notoriety as a battleground state for the pro- and anti-immigration forces sucks the wackos down here like the flush of a giant commode. And the hate the nativists manufacture in Sand Land is sometimes indistinguishable from that of their more brutal, and far more extremist, cousins in white-power circles. There is some overlap, but there's still a difference between a skinhead extremist and your average do-rag-wearin', motorcycle club nativist. Though the line does get blurry.
Sheriff joe, Keep up the good work,if more people treated illegal immigration the way you do there would be less of a problem with it. As far as I am concerened those that protest against sheriff joe are illegals,otherwise why would they protest. Get rid of all illegals and the families that support them.
This disgusts me,i wouldve love to catch these fagg*ts on the street somewhere if that had happened to me.
the ones doing this are sick, bullys low IQ and probably had sex with their sisters, or mothers. These are hate crimes, so go after them joey and prosecute them andy, HOH thats right your too busy building revenue off prostituion, where the prostitutes were all willing and getting paid, a crime that is LEGAL is some states. Doing this for media attn, not really helping the big crimes. You got yourminds on publishing johns names who had sex with them, like who cares???? Which reminds of the sun city masse parlor where the judge threw it all out waste of money and tax payers money!! Are we suppose to feel safer with paid sex clogging up the court rooms???? to do something like this in this day and age when the us and AZ has so many problems . Mostly brought on by ar pisso's and andy's thomass's . I want to number to colbert show producer. or equal time on the show. I will also recommend they bring Stephen Lemons to the show , so the people in the whol usa can hear what he is all about. A money waster.steal a loaf of bread and get 5 years steal billions from the tax payers and get a tv series. SAD state of affairs.
the neo nazis are the only ones arpaio can get to be his follower. sick son of a bitch.for someone in this position to make racial remarks is a good reason to RECALL that bastard, if he dont resign, he is not going to like the march and attention it gets. he is spending all his time thinking of ways to media turn things in his favor not crime busting. what ever happened to the kkk aryan member who killed COTTON in ar pissos jail???
I hope they find these cowardly skinhead nazi punks and send them back to Germany or wherever they came from! This country has had enough of this racist crap! Our diversity is our strength!
This is so sad. I can't believe that this type of element is breeding in our own back yards. This is all the result of Russell Pearce and his Nazi friends like JD and Arpaio.
Their supporters are exactly those groups. Just click on any of those web sites for those hate groups and they all seem to praise these three idiots.
I wonder where all this is leading, perhaps a civil riot. I'm sure.