A man suspected of being a white supremacist was sent to prison Tuesday after pleading no contest to punching a black teen and using racial slurs.
James Brian Roper, 32, of Edmond, was charged with assault and battery based on race, a misdemeanor. He received a one-year jail sentence, prosecutors said.
Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth C. Watson also sentenced Roper, a felon, to three years in prison for violating his probation in a 2007 case. Roper agreed to the prison term as part of a deal with prosecutors and will serve the sentences concurrently.
He pleaded guilty last month to the probation violation. He attempted unsuccessfully to withdraw that plea Tuesday, prosecutors said.
Roper was arrested about 8 p.m. June 27 near the intersection of Sand Springs Trail and Fountain View in Edmond, after neighbors told police they saw a man with a gun chasing a group of teens.
The man pursued two of the teens on foot. He caught up to a 15-year-old and punched him in the face repeatedly, police said.
He called the teens “a myriad of names,” including a derogatory term for blacks, Edmond police officer Matthew Richardson wrote in a probable cause affidavit.
The teens told police the man reached into the front of his pants, as if reaching for a gun. He then told them, “I ain't gonna have no gang bangers in my neighborhood,” as he lifted his shirt and pointed to a tattoo of a swastika above his stomach, according to the affidavit.
The 15-year-old suffered multiple injuries to the right side of his face, including a large bruise on his forehead, scratches on his neck and “a gouge” to the back of his right earlobe, police reported.
Roper, in an interview with The Oklahoman, denied targeting the juveniles because of their race, saying he only confronted them because he thought they were gang members casing cars and homes in his neighborhood.
Roper said the teens taunted him and his girlfriend and flashed gang signs before one of them knocked him to the ground and the others started “hitting and kicking him.” He denied chasing the teens or yelling racial epithets at them.
After posting bail, Roper was rearrested, this time by Oklahoma City police, for violating the terms of his probation.
Roper was convicted in 2007 of multiple felonies, including domestic abuse by strangulation, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping and burglary, and spent about six months in prison, court and prison records show. He was released in 2009 and is on probation until 2018.