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Feb 16, 18

Think Before You Ink: Revealing Tacoma’s Nazi Skinhead Tattoo Shop

The following details how an active group of neo-Nazis associated with the violent street crew, the Hammerskin Nation, have been running a tattoo parlor in Tacoma, Washington.

Would you trust a Nazi to hold a needle to your neck? Would you pay them for the privilege? If you are one of countless customers who have patronized Tac Town Tattoo and Body Modifications in Tacoma, WA, you may have done just that!

Jason “Gravy” DiSimis, Ryan “Irma” Carr, and Ken Baughman are the owners and employees of this small Tacoma tattoo and piercing shop. They have also been years-long members and associates of the Northwest Hammerskins affiliated Crew 38, the most prominent outfit in the local White Power Skinhead Scene (for a more historic look at the Hammerskins, see this write-up from the ADL. While they have been known and carefully tracked by dedicated anti-fascist activists for months, it is time their neighbors and community were made aware of the violent racists in their backyard.

Crew 38 is a reference to the infamous and violent neo-Nazi gang the Hammerskin Nation.

In recent years, the Northwest Hammerskins have been best known for their 2015 affiliations with the racists who attacked Black Lives Matter protesters in Olympia and for attempting to hold a march on Seattle’s Capitol Hill later that year as part of their “Martyrs Day” celebrations, which celebrate the white power guerilla group, The Order. The latter attempt was thwarted by the presence of hundreds of anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters.

While many white power skinheads have kept somewhat of a lower profile amidst the rise of the alt-right, they have certainly not been absent, and indeed have used the diversion of attention to strengthen their outfits. We must call to mind the June 2016 rally in Sacramento where the Golden State Skinheads joined Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Workers Party in stabbing seven anti-fascist demonstrators who prevented them from taking the Capitol steps. Closer to home, the lack of any widely public declarations by the Northwest Hammerskins has not been a matter of them disappearing; rather they have worked to grow their numbers underground while eagerly taking on a new tactic to spread Nazi propaganda.

A series of “overpass rallies” has taken place in recent months across the Pacific Northwest, from Eugene up through Everett. Each event has a similar M.O.: find a busy overpass, often I-5, show up with a few people and provocative Nazi banners, and display them just long enough to ensure that they get viral attention on social media or even local news. After diligent investigation, we can now confirm that Tac Town employees were the perpetrators of one such action on April 25 and are believed to have carried out a second on November 4 of last year.

Simply spreading the word about Tac Town can go a long way towards undermining their work. Given the central symbolism of tattoos within Nazi Skinhead culture, it is easy to imagine the money spent by unknowing patrons going to subsidize free or discounted work for the shop’s racist buddies. At the same time, we hope this information will help inspire Tac Town’s neighbors to organize and show that the Hammerkins’ hate has no place in their community.

For and in-depth look at the people involved in the tattoo shop, go here.

People Against Racist Tattooing Yties (PARTY)

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