Violent Clash Had Roots in Shadowy Movement

John Russell, IndyStar, August 26, 2012

Since dropping out of Bloomington High School South more than a decade ago, Jason Sutherlin has bounced from apartment to apartment across the Bloomington area, leaving unpaid rent bills and liens in his wake.

He has also jumped from one odd job to another: bartender, cook, factory worker, shop clerk. Along the way, he spent two years in prison for burglary.

With his beefy build and neck tattoo, Sutherlin appears to be a rough character. But some of his friends see another side: someone with a soft spot for the working man and passion for fighting racism, fueled in part by growing up in a diverse family.

Those two sides of Sutherlin are now playing out in one of the strangest law-and-order stories in the nation.

Since May, Sutherlin—along with two younger brothers and two friends—has been locked up in Cook County Jail, awaiting trial on charges that they stormed into a family restaurant in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park with more than a dozen other people and ambushed an unsuspecting group of white nationalists.

Authorities say the Sutherlin group shouted anti-racist slogans and swung hammers and steel batons at the lunch group in a mob-style beating. Food and furniture went flying. Ten people were injured. Some of them were clobbered so hard they needed staples to close head wounds.


Sutherlin and his four co-defendants, all from Indiana, are charged with felony mob action, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property.

But the tale of the “Tinley Park Five”—as they have come to be known by some—is also part of a larger story about a resurging militant anti-racist movement and a little-known group called Anti-Racist Action.

Anti-Racist Action is a loose network of anarchists, anti-fascists and anti-racists that specializes in disrupting neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. ARA has affiliated organizations in various locations, including the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement (HARM), which counts the Tinley Park Five among its disciples.

On its website, ARA makes its mission clear.

“Whenever fascists are organizing or active in public, we’re there,” says the website, adorned with photos of hooded, masked demonstrators. “We don’t believe in ignoring them or staying away from them. Never let the Nazis have the street!”

Neither the ARA nor HARM has claimed responsibility for the restaurant melee. However, the HARM website contains a plea for money to defend and free the “Tinley Park Five.” Supporters are trying to raise bail money, which was set at nearly $1 million for the group.

Sutherlin was affiliated with HARM, acknowledged his lawyer, Chicago defense attorney Aaron Goldstein.


But some of Jason Sutherlin’s friends and former employers offered recollections and insights. What emerges is a story of a family marked by divorces, single parents, menial work and plenty of moving around. The family was racially diverse: Jason is white but has a half sister whose father is black.


Jason Sutherlin didn’t care for school and dropped out of Bloomington South in his junior year, said George Cummings of Bloomington, a longtime friend who was a year behind in school and later lived with him for three years.

Once out of school, Sutherlin supported himself with a series of low-paying jobs, including cook, bar bouncer and bartender. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing video games and hanging out with his friends.


By this time, his social philosophies already seemed to be taking root. As a teen, Jason enjoyed hanging out at Peoples Park, a popular hangout near the Indiana University campus that has gained local fame as a gathering place for demonstrators and activists. The park’s history is well-known by social activists. In 1968, a black-owned store on the site known as the Black Market was firebombed by local members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The building was torn down, and the locals renamed the lot Peoples Park in honor of a park by the same name in Berkeley, Calif.


In the fall of 2011, Occupy Bloomington took over Peoples Park, pitching dozens of tents and establishing a community kitchen, a library and an assembly area.

Jason Sutherlin gravitated to the park in his free time, Cummings said, and became involved in the Occupy movement.


He would leave in time to go to work as a bouncer at the Upstairs Pub on East Kirkwood Avenue. It was the latest of his many jobs over the years. Along the way, he impressed some bosses with hard work and a good attitude.

“He was a jovial guy, very friendly,” said Mike Cassady, owner of Michael’s Uptown Cafe, where Sutherlin worked as a cook for a few months about a decade ago. “I wouldn’t call him refined, but I’ve seen rougher.”

Another boss apparently didn’t see that upbeat side. Keddy McClain, general manager of Amused Clothing, a skateboard and used clothing store in Bloomington, remembered Sutherlin as “lazy, slovenly and incompetent.” He said Sutherlin rarely showed ambition or customer-service skills during his time as a clerk.


On May 19, police and prosecutors say approximately 18 people dressed in black and wearing scarves drove to the Ashford House restaurant in Tinley Park in three cars and parked in a rear lot.

They burst into the family restaurant at 12:35 p.m., during the height of the lunch hour, waving steel batons and hammers. They attacked a group of people meeting in the restaurant.


An off-duty sergeant saw one of the cars, a red Dodge Neon, heading toward Interstate 80, and pulled it over. Backup police arrived and arrested all five people in the car. All were from Southern Indiana.

Charged along with the Sutherlins were John Tucker, 26, Spencer, and Alex Stuck, 22, Bloomington.

Thirteen other members of the group escaped and still are being sought by police.


No trial date has been set. All of the Tinley Park Five have pleaded not guilty and are using defense lawyers who volunteered to take the cases without pay.


Sara Garber, a lawyer for Stuck, said her client did not have a criminal record and did volunteer work at homeless shelters in Bloomington and “raised money for social justice.”


Goldstein pointed out that Sutherlin has asserted his innocence and has family members in Indiana to take care of, including his wheelchair-bound father and a 20-month-old toddler living with the child’s mother.


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  • Up to my neck in CA

    “… more than a dozen other people and ambushed an unsuspecting group of white nationalists.”

    Since when did loving my country become racist?

    •  Ever since the end of World War 2.  The Nazis were used by the Globalists (among many things) to show that White Nations practicing Nationalism are the most evil, vile things on the planet. 

      • CoweringCoward

         And don’t forget Churchill’s warning that the next Fascists would be Anti-Fascists! 

    • MekongDelta69

      Since the left said so…

    •  Anti-racist has always been a code word for anti-white.

  • Church_of_Jed

    “A portrait a violent ‘anti-racist’ ” that serves to show us another good example of the growing threat from those Whites who struggle with addiction to the Anti White Privilege Derangement Syndrome, the symptoms of which are violence against other Whites who worry about the survival of White Humanity and don’t want to see White girls dating buck nasty g’rillas all up ‘en heeah.

  • ed91

    bloomington produces more than their share of misguided leftists……….

    iu is a leftist haven

  • MekongDelta69

    Ahh yes – the ‘peace and love and oh-so tolerant’ left at work again.

    And of course anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a ‘Nazi’ or a ‘Klan member’ or a ‘white supremacist’, not to mention of course that all of us are ‘racists‘.

    Endless self-loathing, guilt-ridden, leftist white ‘altruism’ (and violence of course) at work.

  • Like many other extreme leftists the thugs who committed the Tinley Park assault are disfunctional losers.  The dregs of society.  Drops outs with a twisted world view.   Mental children who have taken the left’s poisonous ideology of “it’s acceptable to ignore or break any law you happen to disagree with” to it’s logical violent conclusion.  They are far worse than any of the people they regard as their enemies. 
    They are also base cowards who attack unarmed target from ambush.  (there are examples of ARA types assaulting pregnant women, children, elderly and/or disabled folks, etc)   
    On an aside, it’s interesting to hear that the miscreant being profiled has a prison record.  Given his anti-social mindset, his being a criminal is not a suprise, but that his “anti-racist” mindset survived his prison time is.  Contrary to what got portrayed in “American History X”, for example, prison and being in close quarters with violent minority criminals for long periods of time  tends to reinforce racialist views rather than the oposite.  

    •  “Mental children who have taken the left’s poisonous ideology of “it’s
      acceptable to ignore or break any law you happen to disagree with” to
      it’s logical violent conclusion. ”

      I think that in this case they will be excused for breaking the law, because it will be reasoned that they were acting in the equally-important cause of ‘social justice’.

  • currahee1911

    Carry heavy, carry ready.

  • WmarkW

    Gee, I haven’t read a lot of “ignorant whites disrupt peaceful meeting” stories, have you?

  • ABM

    “…Defense Attorney Aaron Goldstein..”

    Enough Said.

    • Birger_Skruddusvingen

      “Enough Said.”

      Why – or how?

  • Biff_Maliboo

    Why should they want out of Cook County jail? That should be a veritable heaven on earth for these characters. They’ve probably made all sorts of new and diverse friends.

    If the manager of a “skateboard and used clothing” boutique calls you “lazy, slovenly and incompetent,” you’re in trouble.

  • Enar_Larsson

    1. In what sense of the word was this mob beating a “clash”?

    2. Why was this attack not considered terrorist activity? Was is not explicitly intended to cause fear and even panic in a specific segment of the population, based purely on political and scientific beliefs?

    3. Are we likely to see this kind of piece about Wade Michael Page in the near future?

    4. Are we likely to see media pundits begin characterizing Occupy types as potential terror threats or accuse Democrats of trying to appeal to the violent intolerant elements in the Occupy movement?

    • Their action was driven by hate. This is clearly a hate crime.

    • Even if the restaurant-patrons had fought these thugs back decisively, it would still not have been a ‘clash’. This was a raid, or an ambush. One party is solely responsible. None of those restaurant patrons were there for battle. This was no clash.

  • Frank Keliher

    Could Noel Ignatief’s group be connected with ARA?

    His slogan was (is) “abolish whiteness by any means necessary” and that would include what ARA is doing. 

    A dean at the University of Dayton (Ohio) law school was using the same rhetoric as Ignatief on her website several years ago.

    The vast majority of white people do not understand how extremely serious this is and how easily it could spread and escalate. 

    Most whites are still living in the days when they felt the obligation to protect minorities and their civil rights;  today it is the civil rights and the very existence of whites that are in jeopardy.  

    • Birger_Skruddusvingen

      “Most whites are still living in the days when they felt the obligation to protect minorities and their civil rights;”

      Really? Has “most whites” ever “felt the obligation to protect minorities and their civil rights”?

      I sure as heck haven’t,

  • mobocrat

    Deconstruct: Here we see how the media
    gives a “nuanced” portrait of a sociopath, a violent thug with an
    obvious hatred toward Whites. Notice furthermore the only description
    of the victims of this brutal assault: “unsuspecting
    White nationalists”. There is no other description, and the reader
    is invited to imagine the usual stereotypes about “White
    Nationalists” that the agitprop industry has pumped nonstop into
    every citizen’s mind. That they were unarmed and outnumbered is not
    mentioned but should be assumed. The featured sociopath is variously
    described as “jovial”, “very friendly”, and “someone
    with a soft spot for the working man and passion for fighting racism,
    furled in part by growing up in a diverse family.”-
    all quite noble activities that no ordinary American could possibly
    object to, with the added advantage of a holy “diverse family”…
    Neck tattoos, prison time for burglary [was the victim of that
    crime “diverse” or merely White or middle class?] are but
    charming eccentricities. “…unpaid rent bills and liens in
    his wake” are just actions against the one-percent of course. This
    budding revolutionary genius was already forming his “social
    philosophies” [raw unthinking hatred of normal Whites and their
    societies] between the time spent training his highly developed
    frontal lobe with demanding video games and tutorials in advanced
    physics with his fellow radicals in the “black-owned store on the
    site known as the Black Market”- victimized by the still enormously
    dangerous KKK only a short time ago in 1968! Finally, of course, the
    phrase “social justice” is included- just to make sure that the
    whole, odious package is wrapped in a covering every right-thinking
    anti-racist can fondle with fetishistic glee

  • Bergeron

    Equality under the law is the first thing that disappears once the government is in the business of imposing “equality”. 

  • Robert Glancy

    Just another lazy, white trash layabout who thinks society owes him something.

    • 1911ThePunisher45

      Wish he and his boyfriends would have tried that stunt with me, and my Glock 20.

      They’d leave this world the same way they came into it.
      -Screaming, and covered in blood.

  • Laika, The Space Dog

    There’s a chance the firebombing in 1968 was a false flag carried out by the FBI, then blamed on the “K”

  • Liberal-“progressives’ are everything they claim to hate.

  • Laika, The Space Dog

    Fox news reported at the time, “Among innocent bystanders terrified by the bizarre explosion of violence were several dozen women there for a wedding shower.”

    This is how the anarchists, ‘Los Pistoleros’ in Spain got the ball rolling for the Spanish Civil War in ’36. When the Spanish Right finally responded to violent leftist acts such as assassinations and church burnings, the leftists found themselves outgunned, and they lost the war. 

    If the lefties keep doing this sort of stuff, rightist groups will begin to respond in kind. Lefties don’t hunt, go to gun shows, collect ammo and firearms or join the military — like the Spanish lefties, the new left will find themselves outgunned.

  • SLCain

    If they get sent to prison and find themselves incarcerated with a bunch of their beloved black brothers, their antifa, anti-racism street-cred will be worth……………….exactly nothing.

    • Sloppo

      There may be no more appropriate possible reward for them.  Let each of them go to prison where they will get to choose between joining a white separatist gang or becoming some bantu’s “girlfriend”.  

  • Sherman_McCoy

    La-hoo-za-her!  Of course, were my sainted mother to have turned out to he burner of coal, I might have turned out worse.

  • ViktorNN

    These hardcore violent “anti-racists” represent the dead end dregs of the far left subculture.

    What I mean is that they’re young men, hopped up on the latest politically correct academic fashions, who eventually realize that there’s never going to be a “Bloomington Commune” or an anarchist/communist revolution in the US. It’s never going to happen. At this point they’ve wasted several years in meaningless political “work.”

    So what do they do? They turn into self-appointed Stasis, little Red Guards itching for a fight which they can actually win. Their targets now become “white supremacists” – an easily defined, easy to understand, easy to demonize enemy who seem to embody all evil. Who could possibly be a “Nazi” other than someone who deserved to be hurt?

    Picking fights with “Nazis” becomes their outlet. Nothing else they do makes much difference in the larger political scheme of things, but at least they can go beat up “Nazis.”

    The sad thing is that they’re really only fighting themselves, in a way. The best nationalists actually stand up for working class whites like themselves. The best nationalism offers much more than spiritually empty materialist Marxist ideology, which is nothing more than the flipside of spiritually empty consumer capitalism. Nationalism offers a connection to the past and a way forward by grounding identity in our blood, our land, our language, our way of life. They could have been out defending their people, rather than attacking their own brothers.

    These guys are degenerate felons now, lives pretty much wasted on a philosophy that literally teaches white people to hate themselves. Too bad it turned out that way. At least they can be held up as a cautionary example to other young whites flirting with dead end far left subcultures.

    • SLCain

       It also has the advantage that it’s an almost entirely illusory enemy, and consequently one is unlikely to ever be hurt by them.  Where are all these neo-nazis and klansmen that antifa nitwits and the SPLC are forever gassing on about?  Apart from a few middle-aged, overweight diabetics who run the odd website, or half-assed “militias”, where half the members are “colonels”, half are “captains”, and almost all of them are FBI informants, I don’t think there really are any fascists out there.  Hell, this is the twenty-first century – you can’t hardly find a Ku Klux Klansmen in Jackson Mississippi on a saturday night.

      I’ve often heard naively stupid young white men talk about how anti-racist they are, and how  those nazis/fascists/klansmen better watch out, because if he ever gets a hold of them, he’s gonna kick their ass.  It’s preening.  They may as well choose some long vanquished people from history as their enemy: “I hate those racist Picts.  Picts better stay away from me, cause I will really mess them up!”

      • The__Bobster

        Yet last night some lefty mouthpiece said Romney was reaching out to the millions of racist Nazi voters.

  • Natassia

    I wonder if they have the cojones to go after the black supremacist PANTHERS or some of those Islamofascist groups we hear about.


  • libertarian1234

    People seem a bit surprised these flakes and kooks are from Bloomington Indiana, but please know it is the home of Indiana University which….in many respects….is worse than Berkley.  In fact it has been described as Berkley East.

    Note, too, the huge amount of space this newspaper is allotting to such a cockamamie cult-like group filled with the usual types who gravitate toward bizarre ideologies similar to those offerred by other weird cults and sects, like mindless fools.

    And the spin has begun already to make it appear as if the attack was not a pre-planned assault, but an “argument” that turned into a “fight,”  and the newspaper appears complicu it in trying to slant coverage to support the lie as a possibility.  And that alone could be the reason for so much time and space devoted to such a motley crew and such obviously mentally deranged types.

    The oddballs profess to hate racism, yet isn’t it strange that with all the vicious anti-white hatred and racism going on in this country today nearly everywhere, these cult figures don’t seem to care if it occurs or not?

    This character’s last stint was likely in a slammer where he wasn’t much of a victim of black racism, but he’s now in the Cook County Correctional system, which will tax his beliefs to the max.  If he hasn’t already, he’ll learn that he’s going to be a target of hate whether he moronically, overzealously supports blacks or not, because he’s white.

    Here’s hoping he can’t make bail.  He needs re-educating.

  • I love this story!

    There needs to be a story done every week on these loathsome anti-White misfits. I’ll buy the domain, hosting, software, etc.

  • It’s always ironic how some group who purports to be “anti-fascist” or “anti-nazi” uses the SAME METHODS as the groups they hate. The Nazis used the same tactics in Germany during the infamous “Kristallnacht”, in 1938.

  • jeffaral

    Sara Garber, Goldstein,…….. My God…. These names always keep popping up…..

  • curri

    IL has no commercial bail bondsmen.