White supremacist charged in Palo Alto hate crime

Palo Alto Weekly/April 24, 2013

A white supremacist who allegedly assaulted an African American man in downtown Palo Alto has been charged with a hate crime, Cindy Hendrickson, Santa Clara County supervising deputy district attorney, said on Tuesday.

Shaun Michael Barrett, 34, of Mountain View was arraigned on Monday for felony assault with a hate-crime enhancement for the April 18 attack on the 100 block of University Avenue.

Barrett allegedly was en route to San Francisco and missed a bus at about 12:21 a.m. when he encountered the victim and two other men sitting on a bench. All three men are members of racial or ethnic minority groups, Hendrickson said.

The conversation started out amicably, but Barrett allegedly told the men he had been a member of the Nazi Low Rider prison gang.

The victim took offense at Barrett's comments, but he put his hand out to Barrett and indicated that he was "cool" to de-escalate the situation. Barrett allegedly began kicking and punching the man and called him the "N word."

He allegedly told Palo Alto police officers that he is a Hells Angel and a white supremacist, Hendrickson said. He was also booked on an outside warrant.

Barrett is a "three-striker," with two prior prison sentences. He has been charged with a felony because he struck the victim in the head, Hendrickson said.

He could have faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted of this offense. But because the current assault is not a "strike" offense, under new sentencing guidelines Henderson estimated Barrett could receive a maximum of 10 to 12 years in prison. If he had used a weapon in the alleged assault, it would have been a strike offense, she added.

Barrett is being held without bail in Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose. He is scheduled to enter a plea on May 1.

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