White supremacist flyers found in Westfield, Easthampton neighborhoods
WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- We’re getting answers after white supremacist flyers were found in the city of Westfield. The city’s police department confirmed that one organization left flyers in the Western Avenue neighborhood.
According to Westfield Police, the organization that left the flyers in that neighborhood also conducted similar activities all over New England including in neighboring Easthampton.
“We don’t have any room for hate in the city of Westfield,” said Westfield Mayor Michael McCabe.
An investigation is underway after several of the white supremacist flyers were found in Westfield on Monday.
“You’re walking fine lines between things like littering, trespassing, First Amendment rights. For the city of Westfield, we have an ordinance that doesn’t allow people to distribute flyers in that method there is a $300 fine if caught for each event, so we’re trying to figure out who is who so the police department is looking into it,” McCabe added.
Westfield Police said they were left in neighborhoods in the Western Avenue area. They were found in small plastic bag, weighted with small stones, and likely thrown from a vehicle. McCabe spoke with Western Mass News about incident and said it also happened in Easthampton.
“It was really unfortunate that it happened and it was their messaging on how to kind of build their following,” McCabe noted.
The flyers appear to belong to the Nationalist Social Club 131 New England, a neo-Nazi group focused on recruitment efforts in the region. McCabe told us he believes the flyers were put out in response to the possibility of housing migrants at Westfield State University, which is something Governor Maura Healey’s office said is still an option as the state deals with a migrant crisis.
“Their messaging is ‘If you’re a white male from European extract, please join us. Other people are taking over New England and don’t want that to happen’ but really, it’s not welcome,” McCabe said.
The Anti-Defamation League has also received an increase in reports of antisemitic propaganda following an unexpected attack by Hamas in Israel over a week ago. They told us in a statement, in part:
“ADL’s audit of white extremist propaganda indicated that Massachusetts ranked second in the nation, just behind Texas, in white extremist propaganda activity....Often, these bags include messages to recruit new members to their hate-spreading ranks. If you are the recipient of these, we urge you to understand the hate behind the message and to report to local law enforcement and ADL.”
We also reached out to the organization thought to be tied to the flyers, but have not yet heard back.
Copyright 2023. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.