County removes photo of man wearing white supremacist motorcycle gang t-shirt from website
San Diego County featured a photo of a man wearing a t-shirt referencing a notorious white supremacist biker gang on its news website for two years before removing it on Wednesday after a Union investigation. Tribune, a county spokesperson said.
The photo, which showed the man, two women and six children holding a fish net, was featured on an event page promoting a fishing course in 2019.
A county spokesperson said the photo was from a 2016 fishing event in which the man participated.
“The image shows a participant in a 2016 event, not county staff,” County spokesman Michael Workman said in an email. “We have deleted the event list and deleted the image file. “
The man in the image was identified by journalist and researcher Chad Loder on Twitter as Chad Alvarez, 46, of Lakeside. In the photo, Alvarez is wearing a t-shirt that says “Support Peckerwoods”. The Peckerwoods were founded in 2005 in East County, according to the US Department of Justice. Its members wear badges affiliated with the neo-Nazi movement, such as iron crosses and SS bolts – the emblem of the SS in Nazi Germany.
Alvarez did not respond to messages left by UT at a phone number and associated email addresses.
Loder is part of a network of social media researchers who use open source research to identify members of hate groups and others who engage in street violence, including those who have stormed the city. United States Capitol on January 6.
In a 2011 report titled “Bigots on Bikes”, the Anti-Defamation League described the Peckerwoods as a “white supremacist outlaw motorcycle club.” Its leaders were the subject of a federal drug operation in 2007 that saw several members of its leadership charged with drug offenses and assault.
This year, the president of the Riverside County branch of the Peckerwoods, based in Temecula, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
Alvarez has become a fixture among East County extremists who organized last year in opposition to the nationwide protest movement launched in response to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. In July, Alvarez was part of a group of extremists who clashed with black-clad anti-fascist protesters in El Cajon in a brief and violent confrontation on the city’s main street during the “We Are Israel” rally.
Workman said the photo was likely uploaded to the county’s website by a volunteer unfamiliar with the Peckerwoods or its affiliations.