(Mercury News) Six months ago, the co-founder of a notorious West Contra Costa white street gang cracked open a battery inside his jail cell and poured the acid onto a small swastika tattoo at the base of his thumb, burning away flesh and part of the Nazi symbol.
It was shortly after 42-year-old Coby Phillips, charged with murdering an Aryan Brotherhood drug dealer and attempting to have a local defense attorney killed, read a copy of "Night," the late Elie Wiesel's firsthand account of the Holocaust. That book, Phillips said, made him reconsider his use of the swastika.
In an exclusive jailhouse interview Wednesday, Phillips condemned the use of Nazi imagery as a symbol of white pride, pledging to remove his remaining "three and a half" swastika tattoos and calling on his followers to avoid getting the symbol inked onto their bodies.
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