Reputed former leader of Creativity Movement under ATF investigation.
Recently released police reports and interviews with authorities are shedding some light on Adam D. Jacobs’ role in the Creativity Movement and indicate that neither the movement nor other domestic terrorism groups have a significant presence in southwest Missouri.
Springfield had been listed by a Web site as world headquarters for the Creativity Movement — which claims dedication to the “survival, expansion and advancement of the white race.”
Jacobs has begun a five-year prison sentence in Fulton for brutally beating his roommate for supposedly talking with the federal authorities.
As Jacobs, 28, gets used to life at a state lockup in Fulton, his legal issues may not be over.
“I might be going back to court,” Jacobs said without elaborating in a brief phone conversation from prison.
However, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating something in Jacobs’ case, according to the Springfield Police Department, which redacted and withheld portions of its reports in part because of the ATF’s probe. An ATF spokesman declined to confirm or deny any investigation.
And assistant Greene County Prosecutor Cynthia Rushefsky said recently she put a hold on evidence in the case — which includes Jacobs’ computer disks and compact discs — “for possible federal action.”
“I didn’t have anything illegal,” Jacobs said when told the evidence wouldn’t be immediately returned. Jacobs, who pleaded guilty to assault last month, answered few questions in the brief phone call. He said he would try to call the News-Leader back but never made contact.
He did indicate he was looking to sever ties with the Creativity Movement.
“I’m trying to move on with my life when I get out,” he said.
In March, Jacobs, who has the word “RACIST” tattooed across his neck, denied in a jail interview with the News-Leader that he was the Creativity Movement’s leader. He acknowledged he was prominent but claimed only to be producing a newsletter and being involved with mailings.
Joe Roy, chief investigator for the Intelligence Project of the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, said Jacobs became the group’s so-called Pontifex Maximus once the group’s then-leader Matt Hale went to prison. Hale was convicted of trying to have a federal judge killed, according to news accounts.
When the judge’s mother and husband were murdered in Chicago earlier this year, much attention focused on Hale. A man who later killed himself in Wisconsin was linked to the slayings.
But before that, two federal agents — one Springfield police Officer Jeff Burnett, who is assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force with the FBI — visited Jacobs at his southeast Springfield mobile home, leading Jacobs to suspect Williams of telling the authorities of his position in the church.
Once Jacobs beat up his roommate, Anthony Williams — in a drunken assault authorities said included Jacobs kicking Williams with steel-toed boots, burning his forehead with a cigarette, beating him with a chair and a guitar, and holding a machete to his throat while threatening to behead him — his trailermate did talk.
Williams told police he worked as a day laborer after coming from New York, according to the reports. Williams told police that Jacobs was the Creativity Movement’s current leader and that he thought he could advance within the organization if he was close to Jacobs.
Also, a Chicago prison official reported that Hale had asked for his mail to be forwarded to Jacobs, who was prohibited from contacting Hale, police said in reports.
The official also told police Hale’s father was forwarding mail to Jacobs, that Jacobs was the leader of the group’s Florida branch, and that he had moved to Missouri and set up a Web site declaring him as leader.
Williams, who had been hospitalized after his beating, was later taken to a safehouse where FBI agents interviewed him, according to police reports.
The victim told police he was worried that Jacobs would have him killed should he ever talk with authorities about his beating, according to police reports.
Williams feared that Jacobs, who held the title of “reverend” in the Creativity Movement, would have another member kill Williams.
Once police raided Jacobs’ trailer, they seized a knife, a machete, CDs, boots, a plastic chair, broken guitar, documents, liquor bottles, clothing and computer disks.
The computer evidence provided some contact information, but nothing significant in the way of intelligence, said Springfield police Maj. Steve Ijames, who commands the criminal investigations division.
“We didn’t hit some gold mine there,” he said. Ijames said a detective “deciphered what was there, and at the end of the day, it was not a huge smoking gun.”
Computer evidence did apparently yield some useful record of Jacobs’ conversations with fellow supremacists regarding Williams’ assault.
Some instant messages sent from what police believed was Jacobs primary Yahoo! screen name, steel_cap_reserve, include, in no particular order:
“hey, if Im not on y!messenger when you get home, im in jail (sic)”;
“still no sign of anthony. no cops either. he probably hitch hiked out of town. … Even if anthony shows up, im handing him his bags and making him leave. nobody is ever allowed here again. You can take that to the bank!”;
“if anthony is being a good boy, then there is nothing to worry about.”
Police also seized an assault rifle that Jacobs had allegedly given to someone else at the mobile home park, according to reports. The man told police he didn’t want to hold the evidence or be involved with Jacobs or the Creativity Movement any longer.
The Creativity Movement “does not have a presence to speak of in southwest Missouri, nor do any other domestic terrorism groups,” FBI Special Agent Jeff Lanza, a spokesman in Kansas City, wrote in an e-mail.
Ijames, the police major, said the group had a “very, very small” presence in the area, though he didn’t have an approximate number.
Police found no evidence that Jacobs had a “subversive plan to draw together this big operation in the trailer park.”
Police keep files and conduct surveillance on members of extremist groups so that should members of those groups be involved in crimes police won’t be caught flat-footed, Ijames said.
However, Nicole Nichols, co-director of the Ohio-based Citizens Against Hate, said her impression was that the Springfield area had in recent years become “a hotbed for racists,” and said that she’s heard the possibility of some sort of a hate group rally here next spring.
Ijames hadn’t heard that, but he said public demonstrations by hate groups used to be more common in the area but have declined in the last 10 or 15 years.
Nichols said Jacobs wasn’t the group’s leader for very long.
In April, after Jacobs’ arrest, the group’s inner circle apparently elected a new leader, she said.
She predicted Creativity Movement was dwindling, as some Web sites are defunct and some members have retreated into “lone wolf” status.
“The group is pretty much finished,” she said.
Nichols was skeptical Jacobs would leave the group. But the police reports hint that the group may have shunned Jacobs once he was arrested.
According to police reports, Jacobs told a cellmate at the Greene County Jail that he was upset at fellow members’ inattention. The cellmate, who reportedly grew tired of Jacobs’ racism and extolling of Hitler, told police that Jacobs thought the Creativity Movement would supply him with a high-dollar defense attorney but didn’t.
But Jacobs, in the brief phone call, indicated he had recently talked with the person activists and Jacobs now believe to be the new leader.
“I believe so,” Jacobs said. “But I’ve kind of been out of touch a lot since I’ve been locked up.”
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