It was a tense scene Monday morning as the leader of a New England-based neo-Nazi group appeared in court on charges connected to a demonstration outside a drag queen story hour held in Boston over the weekend.
Chris Hood, 23, of Pepperell, was arraigned in West Roxbury District Court on a charge of affray, basically fighting in public. He was also ordered to stay away from two counter protesters who were also arrested over the weekend for trying to keep him from interrupting Saturday's event at the Loring Greenough House in Jamaica Plain.
Prosecutors dropped all charges against the counter protesters on Monday, but a supporter of the counter protesters was arrested after getting into a scuffle outside the courthouse with Hood's supporters.
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A fellow counter protester named Cee called the arrest unjustified, saying the person was actually shoved down the steps by one of Hood's supporters. It remains to be seen what charges, if any, will come from that arrest.
A heavy police presence was on hand Monday, and Hood was heckled as he left court by a group of LGBTQ+ supporters. He is scheduled to return to court in September.
In the wake of Saturday's incident, federal and county prosecutors announced that they are expanding their efforts to combat the recent rise in "hate-based incidents" in the Boston area.
Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden announced Monday that he is adding civil rights prosecutors at the district and superior court levels due to a rise in white supremacist activity in Boston, including Saturday's neo-Nazi gathering in Jamaica Plain and a Patriot Front march held over the Fourth of July weekend. He also cited a neo-Nazi protest at Brigham and Women's Hospital in February and one at the St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston in March.
The district attorney's announcement came just one day after U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins, Hayden's predecessor, announced that she is planning to launch a new hotline that people can call to report white supremacist activities.