A California man who has gained prominence as a white nationalist leader is the nephew of Atascadero Police Chief Jerel Haley, and the North County top cop is publicly disavowing his relative. [Tribune]
Nathan Damigo, who lives in Stanislaus County, is the founder of the white nationalist organization Idenity Evropa and was one of the organizers of the Charlottesville, Virginia event in August that turned deadly. Earlier this year, Damigo gained fame when he punched a woman during a violent confrontation at a rally in Berkeley and footage of the punch went viral online.
Prior to rising up the ranks of the white nationalist movement, Damigo was a Marine who reportedly served two tours in Iraq and has battled post-traumatic stress disorder. He also served prison time for armed robbery of a Middle Eastern taxi driver.
Damigo has said that while he was in prison, he read a book by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, which informed his worldview and gave him beliefs that include the ideas that immigration and diversity are destroying the United States.
Haley told the Tribune that Damigo is a family member he is not proud of and that his views about race are “abhorrent.” The Atascadero police chief said he stopped associating with Damigo more than a year ago.
Around that time, Haley told Damigo that he did not agree with his views and would not continue associating with him, Haley said. The police chief said he regrets the man his nephew has become and has some worry over how Damigo’s public actions could affect the Atascadero Police Department, which is currently battling a lawsuit over alleged racial profiling.
Previously, Haley was very proud of his nephew for his service to the country and for being a Marine fighting overseas. Damigo’s current activities are not reflective of the young man he once knew, Haley said.
The chief also said he hopes his nephew has a change in heart one day.