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Local News

Man Pleads No Contest in Santa Barbara ‘Hate’ Attack

Ryan Christopher Zietlow-Brown

A 28-year-old man pleaded no contest Tuesday to a 2011 hate crime in which he stabbed a black man with scissors in Santa Barbara, and likely will be sentenced to 22 years in state prison.

Ryan Christopher Zietlow-Brown pleaded no contest to charges of attempted murder and mayhem in a crime he admitted was carried out for the benefit of a white supremacist gang, the Neo Nazi Skinheads, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office.

The attack occurred on August 12, 2011,on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara.

The victim, an African-American man, was walking along on State Street with a Caucasian friend, and both were singing a rap song by a well-known African-American rap group, according to witness statements from the preliminary hearing.

Zietlow-Brown approached, asking the victim “if the boy [with him] was white,” and the victim replied, “Yes, why are you asking?”

Zietlow-Brown responded that the victim should tell his friend to "[expletive] start acting like it," police said, and the victim told Zietlow-Brown to mind his own business as they continued walking.

"As the two men were walking back to work, Zietlow-Brown approached them again, armed with a pair of scissors," the statement said, adding that he stabbed him multiple times in the head and then fled.

Witnesses described Zietlow-Brown as a man with a shaved head and visible gang tattoos indicating his affiliation with Skinheads, and investigators arrested him. 

"In a subsequent search of his belongings, investigators located several items, pictures, and writings indicating his affiliation and association with the ideologically based white supremacist gang and its members," the statement said.

The investigation was led by Santa Barbara Police Det. Ben Ahrens with the assistance of Simi Valley Police Department Det. Dan Swanson, who is an expert in White Supremacist gangs, and Santa Barbara County Jail Classification investigators. 

Zietlow-Brown will be sentenced on Feb. 24 by Judge Brian Hill.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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