“Fighting for his life”

Sheboygan man allegedly threatened with lynching,
narrowly avoids stabbing in seven-person fight

By Ian Johanson
of The Beacon Staff

Editor’s note: The Beacon is choosing not to censor the racial slurs that were cited in the criminal complaint. The Beacon feels the words themselves are important to a full understanding of the events which occurred, and the charges which were brought.

What began with racial slurs hurled at a car of young black women trying to make a u-turn on a dead-end Sheboygan street led to a fight involving the father of one of the women surrounded by seven or eight white males coming at him, fending off full bottles of beer thrown at him, a shovel swung as a weapon, a large military-style knife thrust towards his abdomen, and a threat to lynch him, according to allegations made in a criminal complaint filed Monday by the Sheboygan County District Attorney.

The alleged incident began as the July 4 fireworks were concluding, near the intersection of North 2nd St. and Superior Ave. in Sheboygan. An SUV with at least two black women, ages 26 and 17, identified in the complaint as TS and CM, attempted to make a u-turn at the dead-end on Superior. CM stated that people started throwing beer cans at their vehicle and called them “niggers,” prompting them to stop the vehicle.

Scott N. Roeder, 63, who lives at the location of the incident, admitted to walking to the vehicle and starting a verbal exchange with the occupants, saying “You don’t know how to read a sign.” The driver, TS, replied “f— you.” Roeder responded by saying “You don’t know who you’re talking to.” Someone in the car made the comment to mind his own business. In response, he said “Shut your yap, nigger” and to go back to Milwaukee, according to a later interview of Roeder by a Sheboygan Police detective. According to the complaint, Roeder admitted to using the word “nigger” about a dozen times during the altercation.

According to TS, Scott Roeder hit her in the face, and that Brenna Bowers, 23, of Sheboygan, also slapped her, knocking off her glasses. Bowers admitted approaching the vehicle and making comments to the driver but denied striking her.

According to the complaint, Gregory Thomas, 32, of Sheboygan, said his daughter CM called him and told him that some people tried to drag her into a house and called her a “nigger.” Thomas went to the location, where he stated he saw TS and his daughter CM running, and heard someone in the house say “there’s a nigger outside” and then seven to eight white males ran out and came at him all at once.

According to Thomas, they began swinging at him, and he punched one of the males, identified as Ryan P. Roeder, 32, of Sheboygan, who fell and then went and got a shovel, returning to hit Thomas in the face and ribs. Thomas said he gained control of the shovel, which caused the white males to back up and start throwing full bottles of beer at him.

Thomas stated a male with a large military-style trench knife, identified as Scott Roeder, was nearby tapping the blade on his hand repeatedly, and said “Get a rope, we’re going to hang this nigger from a tree.” Scott Roeder then lunged the knife towards Thomas’ abdomen, Thomas said, which he was able to deflect, then strike Scott Roeder in the face, breaking his jaw.

Thomas told a Sheboygan Police detective during an interview a week later that he was scared and fighting for his life during the altercation.

Scott Roeder was charged with a second-degree Recklessly Endangering Safety felony, with hate crime and use of a dangerous weapon modifiers. Two misdemeanor charges for battery and disorderly conduct, each with hate crime modifiers, were also brought. The complaint states that the hate crime modifier was added because the defendant “intentionally selected the person against whom the crime was committed in whole or in part because of the defendant’s belief or perception regarding the color of that person.”

If convicted, the class G felony charge results in up to a 10 year prison sentence, a $25,000 fine, or both. Both the hate crime and dangerous weapon modifiers add up to an additional 5 years to the sentence, and up to an additional $5,000 to the fine.

Ryan Roeder, 32, who also lives at the location of the incident, was charged with battery together with a hate crime modifier, which increased the charge to a felony. The charge also includes use of a dangerous weapon, and repeat offender modifiers.  An additional disorderly conduct misdemeanor charge with hate crime, repeat offender and use of a dangerous weapon modifiers was also brought.

The repeater modifier is applied to individuals who have been convicted of a felony charge or 3 misdemeanor charges on separate occasions in the preceding 5 years, and results in an extended sentence of up to 1 to 6 additional years.

Ryan Roeder has a prior felony conviction for Manufacture / Deliver Heroin, occurring on July 10, 2018.

According to court records, Scott Raeder is released on a $1,000 signature bond. Ryan is in custody at the Sheboygan County Detention Center due to the Aug. 5 revocation of probation for the prior heroin conviction.

Other individuals involved in the fight were charged with misdemeanors: Gregory L.A. Thomas, age 32 (disorderly conduct), Brenna M. Bowers, 23 (battery and disorderly conduct), Shane A. Landwehr, 32  (disorderly conduct), Ryan M. Higgins, 32 (bail jumping), and Alicja S. Sawicki, 30 (disorderly conduct with repeater modifier), all residents of Sheboygan.

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