Three men were held on $1,000 bail respectively on various charges including possession of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer in connection to their arrests for reportedly distributing white pride flyers in East Boston on Friday.
Following an arraignment in East Boston Municipal Court on Tuesday morning, Christopher Hood, 20, of Malden and Tylar Larson, 18, of Rochester, NY, were charged with carrying dangerous weapons. Matthew Wolf, 26, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer after allegedly slapping an officers hand when authorities reached for the Lowell man’s identification card.
According to police, the trio posted about 50 fliers that read, “Keep America American. Report any and all illegal aliens. They are not immigrants. They are criminals. Call: 1-866-DHS-2ICE” around the neighborhood known for its dense immigrant population. Concerned residents reported the flyers to police on Friday evening. At about 9:45 p.m., police said they came across three men wearing ski masks on Winthrop Street while patrolling the area near Maverick Square. According to officials, an uncooperative member of the masked trio slapped an officers hand away as the officer reached for the suspect’s id. Police arrested the three men and found copies of the racist flyers, weapons and a can of spray paint.
Officials said that the flyers were material published by the infamous white supremacist organization, Patriot Front.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Front is a white nationalist hate group that broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017.
East Boston residents encouraged one another to dispose of the flyers on Friday evening.
“Just spent the better part of an hour tearing down the disgusting white nationalist propaganda plastered all over our neighborhood,” East Boston resident Phil Haggerty posted in the East Boston Open Discussion Facebook Group. “All up and down Meridian Street, Maverick square, Central Square Park, etc. Pretty sure I got them all. Do us all a solid and tear them down if I missed any. On the bright side, my two dogs enjoyed the midnight walk though.”
Patriot Front’s website said that the group launched a coordinated effort in late January to place banners and post flyers in Minnesota, New York, Utah, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, Vermont and Massachusetts.
Boston politicians expressed their dismay over the flyers as well.
“Boston rejects hatred, racism and promotion of white supremacy in all forms,” Mayor Marty Walsh, Sen. Joseph Boncore, Rep. Adrian Madaro and Councilor Lydia Edwards posted in a joint statement. “These ideas are toxic to our society and contribute to physical violence, economic disparity and division along lines of race, class, nationality and origin. While we must always uphold a free exchange of ideas, hatred that demeans individuals or groups based on who they are, how they look or where they come from is not welcome in Boston. Those seeking to promote bigotry will always fail in the face of unity that is stronger, lasting and more resilient.”
The three men were ordered to return to court on March 26.