Think Before You Ink
Revealing Tacoma’s Nazi Skinhead Tattoo Shop
Would you trust a Nazi to hold a needle to your neck? Would you pay them for the privilege? If you are one of countless customers who have patronized Tac Town Tattoo and Body Modifications at 1129 E 72nd St in Tacoma, WA, you may have done just that!
Jason “Gravy” DiSimis, Ryan “Irma” Carr, and Ken Baughman are the owners and employees of this small Tacoma tattoo and piercing shop. They have also been years-long members and associates of the Northwest Hammerskins affiliated Crew 38, the most prominent outfit in the local White Power Skinhead Scene (for a more historic look at the Hammerskins, see this write-up from the ADL. While they have been known and carefully tracked by dedicated anti-fascist activists for months, it is time their neighbors and community were made aware of the violent racists in their backyard.
In recent years, the Northwest Hammerskins have been best known for their 2015 affiliations with the racists who attacked Black Lives Matter protesters in Olympia and for attempting to hold a march on Seattle’s Capitol Hill later that year as part of their “Martyrs Day” celebrations. The latter attempt was thwarted by the presence of hundreds of anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters.
While many white power skinheads have kept somewhat of a lower profile amidst the rise of the alt-right, they have certainly not been absent, and indeed have used the diversion of attention to strengthen their outfits. We must call to mind the June 2016 rally in Sacramento where the Golden State Skinheads joined Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Workers Party in stabbing seven anti-fascist demonstrators who prevented them from taking the Capitol steps. Closer to home, the lack of any widely public declarations by the Northwest Hammerskins has not been a matter of them disappearing; rather they have worked to grow their numbers underground while eagerly taking on a new tactic to spread Nazi propaganda.
A series of “overpass rallies” has taken place in recent months across the Pacific Northwest, from Eugene up through Everett. Each event has a similar M.O.: find a busy overpass, often I-5, show up with a few people and provocative Nazi banners, and display them just long enough to ensure that they get viral attention on social media or even local news. After diligent investigation, we can now confirm that Tac Town employees were the perpetrators of one such action on April 25 and are believed to have carried out a second on November 4 of last year.
Simply spreading the word about Tac Town can go a long way towards undermining their work. Given the central symbolism of tattoos within Nazi Skinhead culture, it is easy to imagine the money spent by unknowing patrons going to subsidize free or discounted work for the shop’s racist buddies. At the same time, we hope this information will help inspire Tac Town’s neighbors to organize and show that the Hammerkins’ hate has no place in their community.
The Owners and Employees of Tac Town
Jason “Gravy” DiSimas
Jason is the co-owner of Tac Town, and one of the tattoo artists. He is a known member of the Northwest Hammerskins Crew 38 and was present for the overpass actions. He and his sister have run multiple tattoo shops over the years, the previous one burning down in 2014.
Ryan DiSimas (AKA Irma Carr, AKA Brunhild O’Connor)
Irma is the co-owner with her brother Jason and main piercing artist at Tac Town. She is a member of the Northwest Hammerskins and was present at the overpass actions.
Ryan is confirmed to be living in an apartment at 3737-3743 McKinley Ave E, Tacoma, WA.
Ken is an employee of Tac Town and one of their tattoo artists. We are unable to confirm if he was present at either of the overpass actions, but his open display of his Hammerskin affiliation demonstrates that the tattoo shops Nazi leanings run deeper than the owners.
People Against Racist Tattooing Yties (PARTY)