Nicholas Wayne Sherman (Screenshot/Fox40)
Nicholas Wayne Sherman (Screenshot/Fox40)

Police arrest man after Aryan Nations flyer drops in Carmichael

Law enforcement in Sacramento County celebrated the arrest last week of a 33-year-old who police say was responsible for papering Carmichael, a suburb of the capital city, in October with antisemitic flyers — among them pamphlets that said “Hitler was right.”

District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced 13 misdemeanors and one felony had been leveled against Nicholas Wayne Sherman.

On Oct. 20, roughly a half-dozen antisemitic flyers were found taped to a menorah outside the messianic synagogue Shalom le Israel; that offense spurred a felony charge for “desecrating a religious symbol,” which carries with it a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

The misdemeanors stem from flyers advertising the white supremacist group Aryan Nations, which were dropped on doorsteps in early October. Weighted down in bags of white rice, the flyers were left at private homes and at an elementary school. For that Sherman was charged with “terrorism by symbol,” a 1980s-era statute that forbids placing nooses, swastikas and burning crosses on private property with the intent to intimidate.

Aryan Nations is a “Christian Identity” movement that formed in the 1970s, melding extreme xenophobia, racism and antisemitism. The group believes Jews to be descended “from a sexual union between Eve and Satan,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Police arrested Sherman on Dec. 22 while he was getting in his car to go to work, local news reported. Scenes from the arrest showed Sherman attempting to hide his face from television cameras — though he was hardly shy about his beliefs: footage showed a bronze-colored swastika pendant dangling from his car keys.

(Screenshot/Fox40)
(Screenshot/Fox40)

Police found more Aryan Nations flyers, as well as T-shirts; a bible dedicated to Sherman from Aryan Nations leader David J. Miner; and a copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

Sherman’s arrest, which came after weeks of police surveillance and tips from the community, police said, has shined an unsettling light on the regional presence not only of right wing extremist groups like the Proud Boys, which have an active chapter in the Central Valley, but of more overtly and unabashedly antisemitic actors who have no qualms about idolizing Nazism and the Third Reich.

The Goyim Defense League, a virulently antisemitic outfit, is led by 39-year-old Jon Minadeo, Jr., of Petaluma, and has earned a national reputation recently for distributing propaganda blaming Jews for the Covid pandemic in Florida, Texas and California. Minadeo, though, has never faced arrest, staying careful to remain within the bounds of the law even when performing ostentatious stunts like hanging a banner above a busy Oakland highway claiming Jews want to “start a race war.”

In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League commended the work of law enforcement in the Sherman case.

“The ADL is gratified to see that the district attorney in Sacramento has taken a strong and unequivocal stance in this prosecution,” Teresa Drenick, the deputy regional director out of the ADL’s San Francisco office, said. “It is important not just to the Jewish community but to the community at large to feel confident that law enforcement and the justice system takes seriously antisemitic threats.

“The charging of hate crimes sends a message to the community as a whole that such conduct will not be tolerated, and that marginalized groups will be heard and protected by the justice system,” she said.

Sherman remained in custody on $100,000 bail as of Dec. 29 at the Sacramento County Main Jail. His next hearing was scheduled for Jan. 4.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.