June 09, 2010
Scaglione, age 21, pleaded guilty to the one-count indictment in front of United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess on June 1, 2010, and Gum, age 19, pleaded guilty to the one-count indictment in front of Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline on June 8, 2010.
In connection with the guilty plea, Assistant United States Attorney Retta Randall advised the court that in the early morning hours of July 28, 2009, the defendant, Deanna Scaglione, was driving a car in downtown Anchorage. Her co-defendant, Robert Gum, was riding in the front passenger seat. Scaglione carried a flip-video digital video recording device that she used to record her and Gum as they pursued, harassed, and assaulted an Alaska Native man they saw walking downtown. Scaglione subsequently posted two video recordings that she made of this incident on YouTube.
According to the detailed factual basis presented in court at the time they pled guilty, and as captured by statements on the video recording, Scaglione and Gum were downtown "egging Natives." Scaglione, who operated the camera, recorded both of the defendants' faces on the video and introduced themselves. The victim, an Alaska Native male, was walking along the city sidewalks and streets toward Beans Café, an Anchorage shelter that provides food and services to those in need.
Both Scaglione and Gum each admitted to the following:
During the early morning hours of July 28, 2009, Scaglione and Gum pulled up along side of the victim and threw eggs at him. As Scaglione recorded their actions, Gum verbally harassed the man and threw other objects at him from the vehicle. Gum told Scaglione that he missed and told her to turn around. Scaglione turned the vehicle around, and Gum threw another object and told Scaglione to turn the car around again. Scaglione then stopped the vehicle, and Gum got out with an egg in his hand. He went around the car, and then got back inside.
The victim attempted to get away from Scaglione and Gum, but they continued to pursue him. As Scaglione drove and operated the video recorder, Gum threw additional objects, and threatened, "Hey dog, you want to get shot?" and "We'll hit this nigger with a bat." Gum told Scaglione to pull over again, and he quickly got out and threw a water bottle at the victim.
Scaglione and Gum then parked the car in the Geico Parking lot on the corner of 7th Avenue and C Street, and began pursuing the victim on foot. Scaglione and Gum followed as he walked around the corner of the Geico building. The victim repeatedly turned to Scaglione and Gum and asked them to leave him alone, but they continued to follow him up C Street, then across the street onto the sidewalk on 8th Avenue and along the street in front of the Social Security building.
As they walked, Gum continued to throw objects at the victim, and together Scaglione and Gum made derogatory references to drinking liquor, yelling "I want my Monarch." Gum then came physically close to the victim and threatened to hit him in the face and "knock your f---ing teeth out."
Scaglione next pushed the victim forcefully in the back, causing him almost to fall over. On several occasions, as the victim continued to walk away, he turned around and pleaded with them "Please don't bother me." His requests were met with statements from Gum such as, "If you touch my sister I will cut you," and "I will kick you in the f---ing head." When the victim again asked to be left alone, saying to them that he isn't dumb, Scaglione replied, "You are dumb, you're a f---ing Native."
Finally, the victim saw a security officer in front of the Social Security building and walked toward him. At that point, Scaglione said, "Is that a cop?," and then turned the video recorder to her own face to record herself saying "Well, there's a cop so we have to end this. Bye."
Sentencing has been set for September 2, 2010, before Judge Burgess. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court allowed Gum to continue to be released on bond; Scaglione continues to be detained.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Anchorage Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. The Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section is assisting in the prosecution of this case.
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