Sage Frank (left) with his little brother Bluestar Frank, his dad Cameron Frank and his mom April Carmelo outside their family home in the City of Shasta Lake. Sage was allegedly attacked by an apparent self-proclaimed white supremist.

Native Family Allegedly Attacked by White Supremacists in Shasta Lake

Valerie Taliman

SHASTA LAKE, Calif.  – Another Native family was allegedly attacked by an apparently self-proclaimed white supremacist who assaulted Sage Frank, 18, on the evening of August 23 as he and two cousins were skateboarding on the street in front of their home.

Frank, a new student at Shasta Community College, said he was stunned when Charles Petrisevac, 36, jumped out of bushes near Frank’s home yelling ‘white pride,’ then allegedly threatened to kill the boys as they engaged in verbal confrontation.

Petrisevac, who is bald with a brown goatee and mustache, was described as bare-chested, wearing only shorts, with tattoos on his chest and shoulders when he approached the boys carrying a beer can, according to Frank.

“He said ‘I’m going to kill you fucking niggers’ and kept calling us names,” Frank said. “Then he suddenly sucker-punched me, hitting me in the eye, and ran away through the bushes. I went after him.”

Frank’s mother, April Carmelo, was putting her seven-month-old foster baby to bed when her younger son ran into the house yelling “someone’s hitting brother.”

Carmelo handed the baby to her husband and jumped into her SUV to find her son. She saw her son chasing Petrisevac down the street and caught up to them at an intersection. She reportedly saw Petrisevac pointing a shotgun at Sage and drove her SUV between them to stop him from shooting her son. Petrisevac then turned on her.

“Then he pointed the gun at me, shouting ‘white pride’ and said, ‘I will kill you, too, you fucking nigger,” she said.

Carmelo stayed in her vehicle with her hand on the horn as traffic backed up, and Petrisevac continued yelling threats and pacing in front of her car.

“I was yelling for people to call the cops with his gun pointed at me when   another white male appeared, wearing no shirt with tattoos on his chest. He started pounding his chest, raised his fist and yelled ‘Aryan Nation’. I couldn’t believe this was happening to us,” she said.

By the time the police finally arrived, Petrisevac had taken his gun back inside his house, said Carmelo, and told police that he did not have any weapons.

“He was casually leaning back on the hood of the police car with his arms crossed while they questioned him and they seemed friendly to him,” Carmelo said, “I told them he was lying, but they instructed me to go sit in my car.”

She said she was later asked to produce identification and questioned briefly at her home. She insisted that police report the attack as a hate crime.

Family seeks protection

The next morning, Carmelo was shocked to realize the police hadn’t arrested the man that threatened her family when Petrisevac showed up jogging in front of her house as she was leaving for work with her baby. He allegedly stopped to thrust out his chest and grunt loudly at her, she said.

Horrified that he was back to taunt them, Carmelo learned that no charges had been filed against Petrisevac, despite the fact that she had stated that he had verbally and physically assaulted her son, threatened her and her son with a gun, and has a prior record of harassment against a Hispanic woman.

She then sought a restraining order against Petrisevac for civil harassment, citing a hate crime, and four days later was granted a temporary restraining order until a court hearing on September 6 to determine further action.

Carmelo, an Indian Education Specialist for 13 years who oversees Indian Education Programs for Shasta County’s 26 schools, is Greenville Rancheria Maidu and wears the traditional female markings of Maidu women (seven vertical slashes on her chin). Her husband Cameron Frank, is enrolled Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.

The family has lived in the same house for the past 16 years, but saw a change in the once-quiet neighborhood when several newcomers arrived about four years ago, Carmelo said.

“We became aware that some racists had moved into the neighborhood but we left them alone. They made their presence known with carloads of teenagers driving by yelling ‘white pride,’ and even little kids on bikes yelling profanities and calling us niggers. It’s ugly, but we tried to ignore it,” she said.

Sage Frank and his cousins said on many occasions they saw carloads of teens drive by and point hand signals mocking pistols at them. Only weeks ago, another incident of harassment occurred when Carmelo’s younger son was verbally assaulted at a local park. Carmelo reported the incident to police with no results.

In recent days, the local convenience store was tagged with a swastika symbol near Carmelo and Frank’s home where they routinely shop.

Sage Frank and Racist Graffiti

Institutional racism at play

Carmelo immediately turned to local anti-racism allies and the Shasta City Council for support in dealing with the attacks.

She said there is little acknowledgment of the city's history of violence and forced relocation against California's Indigenous Peoples in local school curricula, and that facilitates misunderstanding, hate and racism.

Speaking at a packed City Council meeting on September 5, she said, “The physical assault on my son, the language used by these two men and the threats of death against us made with the means to carry them out makes this a hate crime. Racism is alive in the City of Shasta Lake and it has potentially fatal consequences.

“It’s important for the city council to take this hate crime seriously and to ensure future hate crimes are better documented. There are more than 1,000 city residents that identify as Native American or Alaska Native, making us the most prominent minority group in the city,” she said.

“We need to make sure that its anti-racist policies are well known and improved upon because of the unique historical relationship between indigenous Californians and state institutions.”

Carmelo pointed out that democratically elected bodies like city councils were historically used to organize, fund and perpetrate violence against California Indians. Genocide, land theft and ethnic cleansing are part of the history of Shasta County and Shasta Lake City, she said, calling on officials to take a more vocal and more active stance against racism.

Forming human rights commission

“This hate crime is not only an attack on my son and I as individuals, it is an attack on the integrity of the sovereign nation of Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians. I urge the city to join my son and I as we move forward to establish a human rights commission governed by Greenville Rancheria.”

Carmelo said she took the idea from the formation of the Navajo Nation’s Human Rights Commission and sees its role as vital to addressing concerns of Rancheria citizens that live in urban areas as they confront racism, discrimination and other human rights violations.

“We need to invite other tribes and cities to enter into memoranda of agreements with Greenville Rancheria as we endeavor to prevent hate crimes, eliminate racism and improve the quality of life for all living in the City of Shasta Lake.”

Carmelo welcomes input from other victims of violence and those who want to stand up to racism. She is awaiting a full police report and asking the District Attorney to prosecute the attack as a hate crime under California and federal statutes.

This is the fourth attack on Native American families in the last 15 months in the Sierra Nevada region.

In May 2011, Johnny, Lisa and Ali Bonta were allegedly attacked and beaten by three young men in Fernley, Nevada who have not yet been indicted.

On June 14, Patty Dawson, a San Carlos Apache and Navajo nurse, was chased through city streets and beaten unconscious by Jennifer Fraser who is set to stand trial on September 17 in Fresno County Court on charges of aggravated assault.

Court records show Fraser has past ties to white supremacists, and hundreds of supporters have written to the judge and protested at the courthouse demanding that the case be prosecuted as a hate crime. The case was delayed seven times and the District Attorney was pushing for a quiet settlement, but the Dawson family has insisted on a trial, now slated for September 17-20 in Fresno.

Last fall, a young man was attacked and beaten in Chico, California apparently by a group of white supremacists; he was hospitalized in a coma, according to family.

Carmelo said it’s time for people to stand up to the increasing violence against Native peoples.

“Racism is not a dead issue in this city. It’s alive and well, and it is perpetuated through the generations by ignorance and stagnant governmental bodies,” she said.

“Lest history repeat itself we must take action, the City of Shasta Lake must take a more vocal and more active stance against racism. “

At press time, Carmelo was still trying to obtain a copy of the police report.

For more on hate crimes read: Understanding Racist Hate Crimes in America

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chico2dc's picture
Submitted by chico2dc on
white cowards....the police protects its own......need the feds to step in, cant leave it up to the local police.

danielgenseric's picture
Submitted by danielgenseric on
ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY! Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries. The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them. Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites. What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries? How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem? And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this? But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

lornakeith's picture
Submitted by lornakeith on
The first thing I want to say is this, those people who heard the request to call the police but didn't get out of their car to help confront the skinhead asshole were as guilty of racism as he. When you see injustice, it is incumbent upon you to act and stand against it. The strength of many is the only way to combat this atrocity. Second, Daniel, THIS IS NOT A WHITE MAN"S COUNTRY!!!. I don't know where you picked up this fantasy, but the people who lived on this land before the Europeans were here for hundreds and hundreds of years and revered and cared for this land much better than any of us latecomers. It is a big world, and there are no racial profiles who have exclusive rights to any land on it. We all belong to the land and back to the land we all return. Them's the facts; get over yourself! Those of us who are against hate of any kind will stand with you. Document all that happens and keep making authorities deal with this in the light of day all the way through the court process. Shine a bright light on it and never let them sweep it under the rug!

49indian's picture
Submitted by 49indian on
HA HA HA Oh lordy lordy we can't take anything away from the great white fathers! LOL Daniel go on back to Europe we never wanted you here in the first place!

gsevalikova's picture
Submitted by gsevalikova on
We haven't gone up north in 30+ years, but I hate to say this-Shasta,Trinity,and many rural counties have an awful history behind them, of anti- Native sentiments like you wuold not believe, unless you lived there. And not far from Shasta lake is Shingletown, a hotbed of white supremism since 1980's, if not earlier. even Asians have to be careful if one has real long hair, because it's been known to happen that drunken racists mistake Asians for Natives from a distance, or from the back.

eldomiwok's picture
Submitted by eldomiwok on
It's the same a Lil south to I'm native blood white skin.but I see and here what whites have to say about natives.jealousy is a factor. Keep up with a article about shingle springs Miwok. My cousin cesar cabellero starts his trial soon and in your article an local media is blurred by what happens in the court room we were bullied off our land and lost our name.

terrimelendrez's picture
Submitted by terrimelendrez on
How can I get an address and write to the judge or correct person in the Courthouse. My name is Terri Melendrez, I am the current Leader of the United Urban Warrior Society of Northern California. We are a Nation wide Native American Organization. We have our eye on this case and would like to keep track of the progress. Can someone please email me and address to write to. Thank you, Terri Melendrez UUWS - Northern Calif.

gsevalikova's picture
Submitted by gsevalikova on
Native Americans ROCK! Chris Stevens was a Chinook Tribe diplomat,I just found out,whom the local citizens of Libya loved and esteemed quite highly. People like him are just too rare, Justin,and one hopes that you can spread the word that the U.S Constitution/Bill of Rights are founded on Native laws and most don't know it-America's best kept secret! As an Asian American from a VERY un-free place, the Russian Federation, I can vouch for the facts that both here and overseas, the basic freedoms just mentioned are under SEVERE THREAT. Yes, there is some strange jealousy afoot,as you say. You know,right now oppostion forces to dictators like Putin are up against rightist/communist/nationalists cadres like the Euraisian Youth Union, who call democracy actists "the devil's servants and foreign agents-can you believe this? So in moscow and other cities,who knows how ugly this may get. If you go online to, you will see all sorts of stuff about skninheads,war and surviving it,etc.

ppmickey's picture
Submitted by ppmickey on
I have been to the City of Lake Shasta and it is beautiful in that area. Where there is beautify it seems to be followed by ugly. Hasn't there been enough abuse of Native American's by the government and white supremists? It's time for people who attacked this young man and threatened to kill him and his mother very seriously. Hate crimes must come to an end in this country or we'll end up like the settlers who had only Indian genocide on their minds. Charges need filed against people who commit crimes like this. If Native Americans are being beaten and threatened why isn't this being treated as a case like a white American would be treated? Charges would be filed. The guy who ditched his gun would have been arrested for assault and battery. Do I want to come back to an area that treats Native American's this way? What is this going to do for tourism in Shasta County? It's not going to help matters any. I'm highly offended. I love this area of the country and am so saddened by this. It's time for Native Americans to have the rights of any other citizen and then some. We have some huge debts owed to Native Americans and it's time to protect them and their rights, NOW.

Myrna Atencio's picture
Myrna Atencio
Submitted by Myrna Atencio on
Every Native Americans need to pull together to take many our Native American rights back such as not paying to go fishing in our own lakes, rivers, going hunting for wild games-not have to pay for it, paying less water bills since this our land (whatever is and in the lands are ours) and getting alot of our own people to represent us in every court in this land. We need to take our voices and be heard in this nation and all over world. If the Black and Hispanic peoples are raising their voices and their agendas, why can't we do the same? Even working to free alot of our Native American children's from the grips of Child Protective Services in all the states of this nation, awhole lot of the courts (Juvenile and Supreme, Attorney Generals Offices) have tried blocking ICWA Acts and its ruling where our precious children's lives are concerned. Our stand has got to be one and there's awhole lot of us in every section of society-this is why we are put down. They don't want to acknowledge that we, the Native Americans fit in every segment of society. No longer are we backward, uneducated people.