Three people have been arrested in connection with racist fliers posted around East Boston, police say.
It's not clear if the three men who were arrested actually posted the fliers, but they were spotted with fliers in their hands Friday night.
Matthew Wolf, 26, of Lowell, Tylar Larson, 18, of Rochester, New York, and Christopher Hood, 20, of Malden, were arrested around 9:45 p.m. Friday in the area of 1 Winthrop Street. Wolf is charged with assault and battery on a police officer. Larson and Hood are both charged with carrying a dangerous weapon.
Police were patrolling the East Boston area Friday night due to recent reports of posters that were upsetting some residents. While on patrol, officers saw a group of males wearing face masks. They approached the group to speak with them, but one of the members was extremely uncooperative. When officers reached out to obtain the man’s identification card, the man slapped the officer’s hand away. The man was subsequently arrested.
Police then found brass knuckles and a knife in the possession of the suspect's two friends, who were then arrested, as well.
The posters have upset some in the Boston community, while others say people have a right to free speech.
Phil Haggerty felt the posters were hate messages and took action, saying there is no place for them in his community.
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“There was one after another after another and there was a whole bunch of them all up and down Meridian Street and Maverick Square," Haggerty said.
The fliers said, “Keep America American. Report any and all illegal aliens. They are not immigrants. They are criminals. Call: 1-866-DHS-2ICE”
"This is our neighborhood," Haggerty said. "A lot of our neighbors are immigrants and I just think it's important we look out for each other. We didn’t really think too hard about it. We saw the message they were spreading and we knew it just didn’t have a place here."
The fliers came from a group called Patriot Front, a white supremacist organization. They did not respond to NBC10 Boston’s request for comment Saturday night.
Mayor Marty Walsh did comment on the group’s effort to put these signs up in a part of Boston that is known for its diversity.
"We're working really hard in Boston," Mayor Walsh said. "There's no place in Boston for that type of rhetoric, and our police department actually is working to get to the bottom of who did this so it doesn't happen to our city again."
Haggerty says he’s heard the argument that free speech goes both ways in response to him taking down the signs.
"On one hand that goes both ways and I have the right to take down the signs if I feel like they are hateful," Haggerty said.
There were about 50 signs total in East Boston but they are nowhere to be found anymore.
Wolf, Larson, and Hood are expected to be arraigned Tuesday in East Boston District Court. It's unclear if they have attorneys.