In June, residents in Big Pine awoke to find swastikas and other Nazi symbols spray painted on fences, signs, and walls through out town and the reservation. Big Pine resident Ryan Lee Jones was arrested after Sheriff Deputies found him at his house with similar spray paint on his shirt.
Now Inyo District Attorney Art Maillet reports that Jones has been sentenced for felony vandalism as well violation of civil rights of two members of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, also known as a hate crime.
Maillet explained that the hate crime in this case involved spray painting Nazi symbols on school property as well as tribal property, and property that belongs to individual tribal members. With swastikas, the SS lightning bolts, and the KKK painted around town, the District Attorney says that these symbols historically represent attempts to intimidate individuals based on their race or ethnicity and to interfere with the free exercise or enjoyment of any right secured by the Constitution of the United States.
According to Maillet, an elderly victim from the Big Pine Reservation said that this act of racial violence had opened old wounds and brought up past prejudices within her community on the reservation. Maillet reports that the elderly woman was sometimes fearful.
Ryan Lee Jones was sentenced to one year in the county jail.