Updated as of 7/26/2022 at 9:40 a.m.
After three people were arrested at a white supremacist rally in Boston, Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden was prompted to add new positions to prosecute civil rights cases, according to The Associated Press. He said these incidents are nothing new to Massachusetts or Boston.
One of them, Christopher Hood, was an alleged member of a white nationalist group known as NSC-131 or the National Social Club. According to the Anti-Defamation League the group is a New-England based neo-Nazi group newly founded in 2019. They “espouse racism, antisemitism and intolerance” and their members include a hefty sum of neo-Nazis and racist skinheads.
Reports say Hood led a rally in a neighborhood of color called Jamaica Plain where there was also a drag show occurring. Two others were arrested for counter-protesting but were bailed out.
Hayden said Massachusetts and Boston were often “targets” for groups to spread hate.
More on the new office positions from AP News:
Hayden said he’s adding staff and renaming the office’s civil rights team because there have been four organized white supremacist actions in Boston this year, a neo-Nazi group protest at the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston last year, and recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have roiled the nation, with the possibility of more to come.
The possibility of “societal strife” during the U.S. House and Senate races this fall and the 2024 presidential election, as well as statistics showing increases in hate crimes across the nation, were also factors, he added.
The High-Risk Victims Unit, which handles civil rights cases, hate crimes, and crimes against elders and people with disabilities, will now be called the Civil Rights/High-Risk Victims Unit. Hayden said adding two new prosecutors will help better coordinate and prosecute felony and misdemeanor civil rights and hate crime cases.
The Patriot Front march wasn’t the only previous incident. There was another neo-Nazi protest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a NSC-131 gathering at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston, according to AP News.
US Attorney Rachael Rollins made a move her own, planning to establish a hotline for residents to report more white supremacist incidents like these. In the meantime, she said to report them to police.
“In Boston, Massachusetts, we have a long history of standing up to hate and injustice,” said Rollins in a statement Sunday. “We don’t hide behind masks. When we see inequity and harm, we look the culprit in their eyes and demand that it stops.”
The Charlottesville riot seemed to have sent ripples across the country, encouraging the white nationalist groups to broadcast their hate in the streets. This won’t be the last white power march we see.