Louisiana Man Sentenced for Civil Rights Crimes
Victims Moved Out of Their Home Due to Racial Intimidation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 10, 2009|
ALEXANDRIA, LA—Justin Sigler, 20, of Chopin, Louisiana, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for threatening and intimidating an African-American man and his wife, causing them to move out of the home they had just moved into, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez and United States Attorney Donald W. Washington announced today. Sigler was also sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $13,846.87 in restitution for the financial loss to the victims as a result of the move.
In December 2008, Sigler pleaded guilty to a one-count bill of information charging conspiracy to violate civil rights. He admitted that on July 16, 2007, he and two juveniles, using racial slurs, talked about frightening the interracial couple who had just moved into the neighborhood. Sigler and the others walked with shotguns to a nearby field to engage in target practice. After the shotguns had been fired several times, one of the juveniles turned a shotgun in the direction of the victim who was standing outside his residence. The following night, July 17, 2007, Sigler and the others discussed dressing like the Ku Klux Klan as a way to threaten their African-American neighbor. Sigler admitted that he wanted to scare the interracial couple into leaving the neighborhood.
One of the juveniles cut up a white sheet and placed it on Sigler to make him look like a member of the Ku Klux Klan. After putting on the sheet, Sigler walked outside with the others to a field near the victim’s residence and began shouting “White Power” and “White Knight.” Shaken by these events, the victims soon sold their home in Chopin, La. and moved away, suffering a financial loss as a result of this sudden and unexpected sale of their home.
United States Attorney Donald W. Washington said, “It is a violation of federal law to intimidate, oppress, injure or threaten people because of their race and because those people are exercising and enjoying rights guaranteed and protected by the laws and Constitution of the United States. Our civil rights laws protect the civil rights of all Americans, and they emphasize the reality that we are all members of one particular race—the human race.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated this case, which was prosecuted jointly by the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office.