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Supremacist sues jail: Claims he was not allowed to practice religion

Daily Southtown, USA
Dec. 3, 2003
Jonathan Lipman, Staff writer • Wednesday December 3, 2003

Supremacist sues Will Co. jail: Claims he was not allowed to practice religion

A Joliet man convicted of armed robbery is suing the Will County jail for not allowing him to practice his religion the white supremacist church founded by Matthew Hale.

Derek Walsh, 21, is suing retired jail deputy director David Simpson, former deputy director Nate Romeo and three jail guards in federal court for preventing him from practicing “creativity,” formerly known as the World Church of the Creator.

Walsh wants $100 for each day he was denied practicing his religion, plus $100 for each day he was placed in solitary as punishment.

The Will County state’s attorney’s office, which will defend the jail in the lawsuit, declined to comment.

Hale’s church became widely known in July 1999 after one of its members, Benjamin Smith, went on a three-day shooting spree that left two dead and nine others wounded before Smith killed himself.

Hale was arrested in January on charges of soliciting the murder of a federal judge and remains jailed in Chicago.

Walsh was jailed in Joliet during the first half of 2002 while awaiting trial for two holdups of Mitchell’s Food Mart in Joliet. He was convicted in June and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

While in jail in April 2002, Walsh writes in his self-filed lawsuit, he ordered a copy of “The White Man’s Bible” and “other religious materials” from the church.

Before jail guards would turn the book over to Walsh, they gave it to the jail’s chaplain for review, the lawsuit said. The chaplain later told Walsh that “in his opinion it was not religious in nature and that its contents were racist, so he was denying the book.”

Sheriff’s spokesman Pat Berry said any material from Hale’s church is treated as gang paraphernalia.

“That stuff has been banned by the Illinois Department of Corrections,” Berry said. “Our state’s attorney felt that was also a good ruling and that’s pretty much what we’re standing by.”

Walsh filed a formal complaint with the jail’s administration and was told if material is racist, relates to gang activity or encourages violence, it is not permitted.

In June, the jail again confiscated some of Walsh’s mail, this time taking five packets of fliers. The jail said he meant to distribute the fliers to other inmates and was not allowed to do so.

When Walsh got a copy of the organization’s magazine, “The Struggle,” it was confiscated by guards 10 days later and Walsh was placed in solitary confinement.

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