The writer of what could turn out to be Dylann Roof’s manifesto cited the Council of Conservative Citizens as something that influenced his thoughts on race and racial separation.
The FBI is investigating whether the vehemently racist manifesto, discovered online Saturday, was in fact written by Roof, is who charged with nine counts of murder in the shooting deaths of parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.
After the Trayvon Martin slaying, the writer of the manifesto said he went to the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens and “realized that something was very wrong,” because black-on-white crime was being ignored.
Martin was killed on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of second-degree murder in July 2013 after a racially charged trial.
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Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, told The Los Angeles Times that much of the language in the manifesto was material lifted from the CCC, which he called a “modern reincarnation” of the old White Citizens’ Councils that in the 1950s and ’60s resisted school desegregation in the South.
“The CCC is very active in Roof’s home state of South Carolina,” Cohen told the paper. “It seems the CCC media strategy was successful in recruiting Roof into the radical right.”
He identified the CCC’s webmaster as white nationalist Kyle Rogers, who lives in Summerville, a Charleston suburb. According to a report on the website, the Internet-savvy Rogers trained as a computer engineer and moved to South Carolina in 2004.
The CCC’s website also rails against immigrants in the country illegally, defends the Confederate battle flag flying on the South Carolina capitol grounds and in 2011 pushed for a boycott of the movie “Thor” because it cast Idris Elba, a black actor, as a Norse god.
Cohen said Rogers had been pushing to bring attention to what he calls black-on-white crime, particularly after the Trayvon Martin shooting. “It’s a staple of Rogers and the CCC’s media plan,” Cohen said.
Rogers also manages a flag store, which sells the flag of the government of Rhodesia, Cohen said. Attempts to reach Rogers for comment were unsuccessful.
Rogers has lived in a tan brick ranch house on a tree-lined street in Summerville for several years, a neighbor said there Saturday, adding that he mows his own lawn and hosts few visitors.
The neighbor, Herman Bradley, 75, a retired postal worker and Army veteran, told The Los Angeles Times that Rogers ran a mail order business out of his home, selling banners and flags.
Most of his neighbors in Summerville probably don’t know he’s there, according to a 2013 article in The (Charleston) Post and Courier.
The Southern Poverty Law Center in 2013 named Rogers one of the radical right’s “30 to watch,” saying he was part of a new crop of activist leaders bent on distorting democracy and fomenting racial, ethnic and religious strife.
Rogers at the time scoffed at the distinction, describing it as “childish name-calling” and an inconsequential scam to boost fundraising, according to the Post and Courier.
The Los Angeles Times contributed.