Standing outside the unassuming home at 1415 Ogden St. in Denver, one might have perfectly good reason to be intimidated. The windows facing the street are filled with punk-rock posters, including one that reads “Skinheads at Play.” Sporadic signs bolted to the exterior brick notify all that pass that they’re being watched — on camera, of course. Moreover, anyone who ventures past the front door’s threshold and into the Victorian style, eight-bedroom home will find that the controversial iconography doesn’t dwindle — it intensifies.
Skinhead art lines the walls, and a giant homemade sign that reads “Anti-Antifa,” which stands for anti-antifascism or pro fascism, looms proudly from above the fireplace. Multiple bikes hang from the ceiling in the entryway, and leather jackets with DIY studs and artwork are scattered throughout the living room.
According to the Anti-antifa Gear website, where Choppy can be seen modeling a T-shirt that reads ‘Anti-Antifa Colorado’, anti-antifa is right wing, pro gun, and against liberal propaganda. “We sell these items to spread the word against the Left and Antifa. We are sick and tired of the liberal tactics they use to spread hate and increase racial violence against whites and other “Proud” cultures.”
Lounging on well-worn couches in the living room of 1415 Ogden is an eclectic group of people — some covered in tattoos, others without a single one; some white, a few of color; some with shaved heads, the remainder fully coiffed.
What they have in common, however, is that despite what one might garner from the contentious imagery, not a single individual between them claim to be Neo-Nazis, the reputation with which they’re now living with.
On Wednesday, December 8, the blog site RockyMountianAntifa.Blogspot.com posted an entry entitled Nazis at 1514 Ogden Street, Denver CO, labeling the house and its inhabitants “a neo-nazi nest of sloppy drunks who regularly harass, intimidate, and sometimes attack people walking by.” Flyers were also posted throughout the Capitol Hill neighborhood and left on people’s windshield wipers.
The blog alleges — without providing any proof — that the inhabitants of the now infamous house attack passersby. According to Shane “Choppy” Mccampbell (so monikered after his porkchop-style sideburns), the police have only been to their residence twice: once for a medical emergency, and on Thursday morning when they showed up to ensure the residents of the house that they were not being investigated.
“No reports of criminal activity [have] been reported at that address or [concerning] the people living there,” Christine Downs with the Denver Police Department said. “In order for us to investigate something, people need to be reporting it and we haven’t seen anything.”
It wasn’t a shock to the group of friends, who describe themselves as a “close-knit family.” Previous blogs have come out about them — none of which were kind — and Choppy had previously been warned that they were “coming after [him] next.”
“I was expecting something like that because I don’t follow the politically correct guidelines put out through the punk scene,” Choppy says. “I was actually kind of excited about it at first, because I like attention, but nothing in the article was true — nothing at all. The only thing that was correct was my place of employment, which is now false because I was laid off the day after it was posted.”
Losing his job as an apprentice at an electric company in Wheat Ridge may have been the most devastating, but it’s not the only backlash he’s faced since the blog post came out less than a week ago.
Almost immediately, Choppy and his friends were dealt threats of violence, some of which went as far as calling for their deaths. Facebook was bombarded with posts calling for his landlord to evict him and people organizing friends to “get every piece you can lay your hands on,” citing “the only good nazi is a dead nazi.”
No one living at 1415 Ogden St. identifies as part of the Nazi party, despite most of them having different political, social, and religious views. The most common subcultures they would identify with are the Skinhead and Oi! subcultures of punk music.
Oi! is a subgenre of punk music that originated in the 70s. At its core, there is nothing linking Oi! music to white supremacy, although some bands use the outlet as a way to push similar beliefs that are not welcomed by the Oi! masses.
“The genre got its name from the lyrics. There were a lot of ‘Oi, Oi, Oi,’ in the lyrics which stemmed from very basic, kind of dumb lyrics,” Brett Callwood, former music editor at Detroit Metro Times and current freelance music writer, says. “It was a lot of poor young kids letting out anger and frustration. It’s like angry folk music for the working class.”
However, few bands in the Oi! genre use their music to promote white supremacy. One of these bands is Skrewdriver.Beginning as a non-political, non-racist punk rock/Oi! band, Skrewdriver evolved into the most prominent neo-Nazi rock band in the world. In many photos online, Choppy is seen with people wearing Skrewdriver T-shirts.
“If you’re out wearing a Skrewdriver T-shirt you are either a white supremacist or you’re okay with people that are,” Callwood says.
The blog entry highlights the way Choppy and his friends dress, and the tattoos they don. When asked about the swastika on his arm, Choppy was hesitant to answer.
“I don’t talk about my politics or religion,” he says. “But, that also means that I don’t try to push it on other people. I sure as hell don’t attack people because they believe differently than me. Look around this room; we have people from all beliefs, backgrounds, and races here.”
He was right. Sitting in a circle in his living room sat a half-caucasian, half-Asian man; a half-black, half-white woman; and two Latino people. When asked again about the tattoos that cover his body the hesitation was missing. He didn’t apologize for his tattoos, but recognized that it was once part of his identity — an identity that he claims he has since left behind, but chooses not to forget or erase.
“I fell into some bad crowds when I was young,” Choppy says. “I’ve been a part of the punk scene since I was 12 years old and the skinhead scene since I was 19. This was because I loved the music, but I’ve done some things that I’m not proud of and surrounded myself with some people I shouldn’t have. I don’t regret it, because it made me the person I am today. I’m really proud of the person I am today.”
On November 15, Choppy posted a photo of one of his tattoos on Instagram. It’s a small stick figure head with a prominent Hitler mustache. The caption reads #happyhitler. The photo was liked eight times.
Bianca Marie is a woman of mixed race who lives with Choppy — something she says is out of the kindness of his heart.
When Bianca fell on hard times and was evicted from her apartment in Denver, Choppy offered her a place to crash. He cleared out a spot in the massive house he is renting and with permission from the landlord, built a wall so Bianca and her fiancé could have a private room.
“I knew that he would let us crash at his place,” Bianca says. “I had no idea that he would do everything that he has done to help us. I’m not sure I can repay him for the things he’s given us, but he also doesn’t expect anything in return. He is one of the sweetest, most giving, most compassionate people I’ve ever known. If there’s anything that anyone needs, he’ll be first in line to offer what he can.”
A few hundred feet from his front door, Jingle Joe — a black homeless man who is usually found outside of the 7-Eleven on Ogden and Colfax — backed the claims of compassion Bianca has for Choppy.
“These people don’t hurt anybody, man,” Jingle Joe says. “They are the first to invite us in to warm up and take a few shots. They give us blankets when we need them. They bring us leftovers from the BBQs they throw. One of my buddies has a leather jacket they are letting him borrow. They’re good people.”
Jingle Joe was referring to the almost ritualistic BBQs Choppy throws on weekends. On Friday, two days after the blog was published, Choppy sent out an invite on Facebook for anyone and everyone — including police, media, and anyone with concerns — to come hang out and have a few drinks.
Fifteen minutes later the Intersectional Social Justice Facebook page shared the post with the comment, “Anyone in the area should check it out. And by check it out i mean bring some bats to bash the fash.”
That day, in spite of being recently laid off, he stocked up on massive amounts of hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, salad, and beer. Then he waited. Very few people showed up — none wielding Louisville Sluggers. Those that did were greeted with a handshake and directed to the kitchen.
“Go make a plate,” Choppy told them. “We’ve got plenty.”
Jazmine Perez, a neighbor, was one of the few who came over for a plate of food. A Latina, a mortgage broker, and a millennial, she is often referred to as a news anchor for her seemingly average appearance compared to the skinhead aesthetic of skinny jeans tucked into Doc Marten boots, white tank tops, band shirts, and suspenders Choppy and his friends wear. The nickname does not bother her.
Jazmine became friends with Choppy one day just walking home from the bar. Choppy invited her in for a few a drinks, and walked her home afterward.
It’s a house rule to never go out without at least one other person due to the high homeless population and frequent crime rates in Capitol Hill.
“I’ve never felt out of place here,” Jazmine says. “I feel more comfortable here than I do most places. As soon as I saw what was happening I brought over a bottle of Bailey’s and cracked it open. These are good people.”
Amber Timmons, a trans woman living in Capitol Hill whose car was vandalized in November with swastikas and pro-Trump rhetoric, was indirectly mentioned in the blog post. It cited the vandalism to her car and implied that Choppy was responsible. It also included the photo of her Nissan Xterra covered in black, hateful spraypaint.
Amber, however, claims it wasn’t Choppy or anyone that visits 1415 Ogden St. Amber was once next door neighbor to Choppy and regularly attended his BBQs. The day she moved into 1411 Ogden St., Choppy walked up to her car and started pulling out boxes to help her.
Amber was never met with hostility, intimidation, or mockery from Choppy.
“They were our protectors,” Amber says. “If we ever needed anything Choppy and his friends were the ones to help out. Even if we were just walking to the 7-Eleven they would stop anything they were doing and go with us. They aren’t causing trouble — they are preventing it.”
The original posting of this article did not explain anti-antifascism. The last update was on December, 17, 2016. As this story progresses, we ask anyone to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with information regarding hate crimes in Capitol Hill. We will update this story with any new information we receive.