Bystanders tackled a teenager who vandalized the Boston Holocaust Memorial and held him until the police could arrive to arrest him. While it’s not officially a hate crime yet — an investigation into the teen’s motives is still ongoing — the Boston police did highlight that the act occurred soon after the horrifying events in Charlottesville that resulted in three dead. The Monday incident is the third such attack on the memorial this year and occurred ahead of a Boston event this weekend similar to the Unite the Right rally.
“Clearly, this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our city,” said Boston police commissioner Williams Evans. “And, in light of the recent events and unrest in Charlottesville, it’s sad to see a young person choose to engage in such senseless and shameful behavior.” The seventeen year old threw a rock through one of the memorial’s etched glass panels. When passersby saw him shatter the pane, they tackled him and kept a hold of him until the police arrived. He has been charged with willful destruction of property.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted his disappointment over yet another assault on the New England Holocaust Memorial and regret that there was “such a despicable action in this great city.” The memorial, which is over twenty years old, never saw a single vandalism until this year.
The upcoming Boston Free Speech rally threatens to bring white supremacists, Nazis, and neo-Confederates to the city, although organizers are trying to disassociate their event from the one in Charlottesville and claim the gathering isn’t racist in nature. It’s worth noting, however, that one of the speakers who will be at the Boston gathering is an anti-Semite who headlined Unite the Right: Augustus Sol Invictus. Another is Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, a pro-Trump Breitbart alum and contemporary of Milo Yiannopoulous.
“What we need is leadership to step up here and denounce the hate and violence of these white supremacists,” said Mayor Walsh. “We don’t need to go backward, we need to go forward. Freedom of speech isn’t about racist remarks and division … I don’t want that type of hate to come to our city. We’ve worked too hard to move beyond all of that.”