A Colorado judge is in hiding today and under police protection after members of a white supremacist prison gang ordered his assassination, according to a new report from the Denver Post.
Quoting a "key source" involved in the case, the Denver Post reports that the "hit" was put on Judge Jonathan Walker after he signed off on about 20 search warrants that allowed investigators access to homes and cellphone records belonging to members of the "211 Crew" gang. The search was authorized to look for evidence that might link them to the slaying of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements, who was shot and killed in March of this year at his home.
Police believe Evan Ebel, a suspect in the Clements murder who was killed in a shootout with police in Texas later that month, was connected to the 211 gang.
While the Denver Post's source said Judge Walker took leave, bought a .380-caliber handgun, and even moved out of his home, the report also notes that the Colorado State Court Administrator's spokesman says that no judge from the El Paso County courts has been on leave.
The new report also says that Gov. John Hickenlooper and other state officials have been under special protection because of the case.
Formed in 1995 in Colorado, the gang is becoming a threat to public safety, according to Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who joined PoliticsNation Monday to talk about the 211 Crew.
"Now they're going after officials, this is scary stuff," she said.
"We're finding increasingly that white supremacist prison gangs like the 211 Crew are operating outside of the prisons as much as inside of the prisons," she said. "And they're involved in every bit of criminal activity that you can imagine."
"This has been happening in many, many places in the country," she said, "that prison gangs, when people get paroled, get let out of prison, continue those activities outside the walls, as they call it."
"It's absolutely horrible," she said. "In 2000 we counted 602 hate groups; our last count from about a year ago was 1,007. There's been a real movement of organizing among white supremacists in the United States..., It's just been kind of an unending rise for over a decade now."