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White supremacist group posts hate speech in Massachusetts town

“Maynard is a safe and welcoming place for all people from all backgrounds. We stand against hate and the groups that spread hatred in our communities.”

A small Massachusetts town is the latest community to experience racist messages placed around its downtown area.

On Friday, the town of Maynard, located about 20 miles west of Boston, reported that stickers and other materials advocating white supremacy, were posted on parking meters and utility poles on Main and Nason streets. A resident informed local police of the matter earlier this week, officials said.

Select Board Chair David Gavin said he, along with town administrator Gregory Johnson and police Chief Michael Noble, strongly and unequivocally condemn and denounce racism and discrimination in all forms.

“Dangerous, violent, and extremist groups that spread messages of hate and intolerance are a cancer,” Gavin said in a statement.

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“Maynard is a safe and welcoming place for all people from all backgrounds. We stand against hate and the groups that spread hatred in our communities.”

Town officials said they are not identifying which hate group reportedly was responsible. 

However, they said the organization is known by and listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery, Alabama-based nonprofit that tracks and monitors extremists. Last year, the center identified more than 800 hate groups across the country, including 12 in Massachusetts.

Nearly 11,000 residents live in Maynard, situated on the Assabet River. About 8.1 percent of them identify as non-white, according to U.S. Census data.

Several other communities in the commonwealth have also reported finding similar hateful propaganda, which has been removed, according to officials. They said the Commonwealth Fusion Center, a mutual aid law enforcement intelligence group, was notified about the incident in Maynard. It is considered a crime by state law to post such stickers on public or private property.

Noble, Maynard’s police chief, said no suspects have been identified after checking video surveillance for potential leads. Officers have been directed to patrol the area where the materials were found.

“If identified, those responsible for posting these hateful messages will be prosecuted,” said Noble in a statement. “We do not tolerate the defacement of our public spaces with messages of hate and intolerance.”

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