Watch CBS News

Trump administration freezes $10 million to fight violent extremism

Group fighting hate
Funding to fight violent extremism frozen by Trump administration 02:25

NEW YORK -- For more than 20 years, Chuck Leek was deep in the white supremacist movement in Southern California.

Leek had an arsenal of weapons and even spent time in prison for assault with a deadly weapon. "It was a big part of the whole skinhead thing … physical violence," he said.

Chuck Leek, when he was a skinhead Chuck Leek

Today, Leek volunteers with Life After Hate, a nationwide network of former white supremacists dedicated to educating young people against joining right wing terror groups and encouraging white supremacists to leave the movement.

"Absolutely the white supremacist movement is far more active in the last six months than I have seen it in 10 or 12 years," he said.

Life After Hate is one of more than 30 organizations -- including six police departments -- tapped by the Obama administration to receive $10 million in grants to counter violent extremism. The Trump administration has those grants on hold.

Bryan Tuma CBS News

Bryan Tuma, assistant director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, says the Department of Homeland Security usually releases such grants in 30 days.

"We are told right now that those programs are being reviewed," Tuma said.

Tuma's grant would pay to train mental health workers to recognize potential violent behavior.

"Our goal is to focus in on what are the barriers preventing people from reporting this kind of behavior," he said.

Chuck Leek CBS News

Leek changed his behavior and believes others can too.

"I say that, you know, if one person gets their mind changed, it might be worth it, if that one person had been Dylann Roof or the Oklahoma City bomber," he said.

Leek attributes leaving the hate movement to his faith in God and help from people outside the movement. The grant money is still under review.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.