Forty-year-old Patrick Nugent Jr., who authorities say is a member of the COORS (Comrades of our Racist Struggle) Skins gang, has been charged with possession of a "zip gun", an improvised firearm similar to that used to booby-trap the front gate of the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force in February 2010. He's also been charged with having a pair of nunchucks – weapons usually constructed of two pieces of wood held together by a short chain. According to the complaint against Nugent, he had the zip gun and nunchucks "at the direction of and in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent" to promote criminal conduct among gang members. The AP reports that Nugent has pleaded not guilty.
Also charged in the raids was Joseph Zito, 29, of Hemet, as a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He is jailed and bail is set at $1 million. Zito previously had ties to a white supremacist group but his mother, Catherine Shirley, said he was not involved with the COORS or any other gang. She said he was in the process of getting swastika tattoos removed.
But Catherine Shirley is unhappy with the behavior of the FBI agents who searched her home. Shirley said FBI agents trashed her home as they burst in before dawn to arrest her son and confiscate several books, including a German Bible and his laptop. Shirley, who has multiple sclerosis, said she was bruised as she was handcuffed. She also said her family's china collection was destroyed. "They stormed in full regalia and chopped open the back door, throwing bombs. I thought it was an earthquake," Shirley said. "When you see what those people did to this house, it looks like Hurricane Katrina." View a photo of the damage HERE.
FBI officials said they were not aware of any damage, but they told the family they could file claims with the FBI legal department. Bureau spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the family did not report any injuries and the mother was detained as a security measure while agents searched the house, assisting the Gang Task Force.
But of course Catherine Shirley didn't report any injuries at the time - she was probably still traumatized over the dynamic entry of a bunch of black-clad police agents. Obviously, the FBI has to take precautions, but to destroy this lady's china collection? That's vindictive. One individual who identified as a former cop agrees, and posted the following comment to the Press-Enterprise story:
Bob, May 3rd, 1:02:31 PM
The cops in California LOVE carrying everything they do to the extreme because the law says that they can. They didnt have to trash the place, but they did because the law protects them. Thugs with a badge. Searching the place and arresting her son was more than reasonable, but there is no need to trash the place. I used to be a cop in the midwest and we certainly werent allowed to act like that. Local cops enjoy doing that, then sit around and drink beers bragging.