Lowell Man Among 3 Arraigned in Racist Fliers
By Kathleen McKiernan
BOSTON -- An attorney for one of the men arrested during an investigation into the distribution of racist flIers in East Boston over the weekend chalked the incident up as “youthful” ignorance.
“As far as an organized group of bigots, racists, it is more of a group of disorganized group of bored young men,” said Nitin Dalal, a defense attorney, at East Boston District Court. “This is a case of youthful stupidity. These individuals aren’t friends with each other. They are loose acquaintances. One started spouting off nonsense about how they feel about immigrants. Then they ended up in East Boston like a bunch of dumb kids. I don’t think he believes these views. This is a lack of maturity.”
Christopher Hood, 20, of Malden; Tyler Larson, 18, of Rochester, N.Y., who Dalal represents; and Matthew Wolf, 26, of Lowell, are facing charges after an encounter with police investigating the flIers in East Boston.
When police approached the men, who were hooded and wearing face masks, according to police, they found Larson holding a can of spray adhesive and posters reading “Reclaim America,” “Your speech will be hate speech;” “To ourselves and our posterity” and “Patriot front U.S.”
Hood is charged with carrying a dangerous weapon after police found him in possession of a spring-loaded five-inch black knife. Larson is also charged with carrying a dangerous weapon after police discovered he was carrying a set of black brass knuckles.
Wolf, a veteran in the National Guard and engineer for a government contractor, is charged with assault and battery on a police officer after he allegedly slapped at an officer grabbing for his wallet and identification during the investigation.
The three men were ordered to stay away from Maverick Square. All three men had bail set at $1,000, the amount set by the bail commissioner following arrest, and were ordered to return to court on March 26 for a pretrial hearing.
“They were wearing face masks and hoods,” said Assistant District Attorney Jillian Bannister. “I have no information they have any business in the community.”
The case stems from the complaints from the community over the past week that a group of potential white nationalists called “Patriot Front” had been in the neighborhood posting racist fliers.
At about 9:45 p.m. Friday, officers saw a group of seven males walking across Maverick Square wearing face masks and hoods despite the weather being warm and clear, according to the police report.
Police spoke with Wolf, who allegedly was uncooperative and unwilling to produce identification, the police report said. When Wolf removed his wallet from his pocket, police went to grab it, believing it was his ID, and Wolf slapped the officer’s hand away, the report says.
Wolf’s attorney, Seena Pidani, declined to comment, as did the defendants at court Tuesday. Hood did not have an attorney.
Dalal said that Larson, the youngest, is “very remorseful.”
“He recognizes the situation he’s gotten himself into,” Dalal told reporters. “He’s from upstate New York. He came to Boston to hang with a friend. One has an idea to do something stupid and they all follow along. He’s explained to me he is not this type of person. It is not something he expected to happen.”