Civil rights organization tracked Wade Michael Page since 2000 for hate group ties

Civil rights organization tracked Wade Michael Page since 2000 for hate group ties

By Matt Montgomery. CREATED Aug 6, 2012 - UPDATED: Aug 6, 2012

Click here to listen to Heidi Beirich's conversation with "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure."

CUDAHY- A civil rights group that has studied hate crimes for years said that Wade Michael Page, the man responsible for the Oak Creek Sikh temple massacre, has been on their radar since 2000.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that 40-year-old Page was a frustrated neo-Nazi, and a strong follower and believer of the white supremacist movement.

Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence project told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure," about their file on Page.

"We know he's been involved in white supremacist organizations since at least 2000, including the neo-Nazi group the National Alliance."

The National Alliance is a well-known hate group.

Beirich said that the center had evidence that he attended and was involved in hate events around the county.  She said he was the lead guitarist and vocalist for numerous white supremacist bands.

"We know he established his own white power band, we know that he played in some prominent white power bands like 'Definite Hate'..." said Beirich.  "He was obviously very well known on the neo-Nazi music circuit."

Beirich said their organization casts a larger net, in terms of tracking hate group members, than some federal authorities.

"Law enforcement officials are only going to look at groups that they think are an imminent threat," said Beirich.  "We're probably one of the main repositories of information on these individuals.  We have material on about 20,000 people who have been involved in various different hate groups."

An official motive for Page's actions hasn't been determined.