The founder of an alleged neo-Nazi organization was arrested last month for disturbing the peace after nearly coming to blows with a counter-protester at a recent demonstration in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
The individual arrested, Christopher Hood, of Pepperell, Massachusetts, is the leader and founder of a group named the National Socialist Club (NSC-131), which takes not-so-subtle inspiration from the fascist German Nazi Party from the early 20th century — who labeled themselves “national socialists” as well.
Hood and members of NSC-131 organized a protest on July 23 in response to a “children’s Drag Queen Story Hour being held in Loring Greenough House, a historical landmark that is the last 18th century residence still in existence in Jamaica Plain.
The presence of NSC-131 was met by counter-protesters, who formed a gathering of their own to support the LGBTQ event. Police were called to the scene as tensions between the two sides began to mount, with NSC-131 members shouting taunts towards the counter-protesters and yelling anti-LGBTQ slogans, reports Boston PBS affiliate WGBH.
For obvious reasons, it wouldn’t be long before the confrontation between the pro- and anti-LGBTQ demonstrators escalated to a point where police intervention was needed. Hood, along with two counter-protesters who identify as “anti-fascists,” was arrested on disturbing the peace charges, handcuffed, and transported to the Boston Police Department’s West Roxbury precinct.
Hours after the protest, residents stood outside Loring Greenough House to show support for their LGBTQ neighbors.
“We’re out here making sure that people hear us,” a woman named Nicole told WGBH, noting that “rage” brought her to the counter-protest.
Another counter-protester, Courtney Ignace, noted that there has been an increase in right-wing extremist groups holding demonstrations. On the Fourth of July weekend, another neo-fascist group (and rival of NSC-131), Patriot Front, held a demonstration in downtown Boston, sparking condemnation from public officials.
Back in March, NSC-131 appeared at the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, pushing their bigoted views with a banner reading: “Keep Boston Irish.” According to ABC affiliate WCVB, NSC-131 is not s small group with a limited scope; rather, the organization has chapters in all six New England states.
“Yeah. I mean, I guess they’re getting more organized, so we have to organize against them,” Ignace told WGBH.
On July 25, Hood pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which included one count of affray, defined as “an instance of fighting in a public place that disturbs the peace,” and one count of assault, while the two other counter-protestors arrested had their charges dropped, according to the Boston Herald. Hood is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 19 for a pre-trial hearing.
United States Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins published a comment to her Twitter account denouncing NSC-131 and other groups like it.
“Every single person deserves to live their life fully and authentically as who they are. But if your authentic self is a bigot that wants to harm, humiliate, and terrorize people you are not welcome here,” Rollings wrote in her statement, explaining that she will be announcing a community “tip-line” number residents can call to report the activity of these groups. “We need to expose these cowards.”