BOSTON — State prosecutors declined to press charges against two of the three men arrested Saturday in Jamaica Plain – after a white supremacist group showed up to protest the Drag Queen Story Hour.
Tobias Walker and Seth Rosenau, who were counter-protesting members of the Nationalist Social Club, walked out of Judge Kathleen Coffey’s courtroom free – but the third man arrested, Christopher Hood, was arraigned on the misdemeanor charge of “affray.”
That charge carries no jail time. But Hood, founder of the Nationalist Social Club, also known as NSC 131, is due back in court on Sept. 19.
The judge granted the state’s request that Hood steer clear of Walker and Rosenau, but rejected a sweeping geographical limitation: that Hood remain out of Suffolk County, save for medical or legal reasons.
“Looking at Mr. Hood’s record, there are three prior arrests,” the prosecutor noted, in defending that request. “Mr. Hood has outgrown our attempts at diversion. Mr. Hood’s behavior is escalating. He’s becoming increasingly violent.”
Hood’s prior offenses included passing out racially charged leaflets in East Boston, the prosecutor said, and protesting at the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Judge Coffey turned down the ban on the basis of the nature of the charge.
“Having said that, Mr. Hood,” Coffey said, “No new arrests while this case is pending. You’re free to enter Suffolk County and conduct your business. But no criminal behaviors. If you are arrested on new matters, you are putting your liberty in jeopardy.”
A court-based attorney advising Hood complained the state was engaging in selective prosecution by releasing the other two defendants arrested Saturday on similar charges, but going forward with arraigning Hood.
The prosecutor said Hood was being treated differently because Walker and Rosenau either had no or minimal histories with law enforcement.
Before Hood entered the courthouse, he was met with dozens of demonstrators yelling “Nazis Out, Nazis Out.”
One of the leading demonstrators was Rod Webber – currently a filmmaker who has documented the rise of far-right groups.
On a video, Webber is seen confronting Hood and his companions as they walked up a ramp into the courthouse. At some point Webber winds up on the ground – allegedly at the hands of NSC members.
“Rod was knocked to the ground, stomped on the head and then, while he had his camera rolling, attempted to seek the aid of the police,” said Webber’s attorney Murat Erkan.
Erkan said Webber approached police about the alleged assault and was pushed down the stairs by an officer. He was then arrested for assault and battery on a police officer.
“I’m all cut up,” Webber said, as he showed the media scrapes near his shoulder, his fingers and knees. “I’m cut up from head to toe from rolling down those steps.”
Erkan called it “a sad day in American justice” that the case against his client is going forward.
“Rod has never incited any violent act,” he said.
Webber, like Hood, will be back in court come September.
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