Black Artist Attacked in White Supremacist March in Boston

Murrell shared photos of the attack on his social media. (screenshot Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic via Instagram)

Charles Murrell, a Black artist, musician, and activist, was injured when he was caught in a white supremacist march this weekend in Boston, local outlets reported.

A hundred members of the Patriot Front, a white nationalist hate group, marched through the city on Saturday, July 13, carrying military gear and wearing masks and shirts with the slogan “Reclaim America.” In an account published on his Instagram, Murrell said he was assaulted by members of the group while walking past Boston’s historic Copley Hotel on his way to work around 1:30 pm.

“I thought it was odd that a protest was happening on the sidewalk and not the street,” Murrell wrote. “When I tried to get my phone to record the masked mob, this happened (see photos).” The accompanying images appear to show Murrell being attacked with a metal shield.

“Now, fake bot accounts are in my DM and on my social media pages trying to instill fear into myself and community,” Murrell continued. “I assume these are the same masked white men. I share this to first say, things have not changed much. Secondly, this is why I do the work that I do with passion.”

According to a police statement provided to the Boston Herald, Murrell was knocked to the ground and suffered cuts to his head, eyebrow, and one finger before he was transported to Boston Medical Center. Boston officials, including Mayor Michelle Wu, said they had no advance knowledge about the demonstration. The FBI is one of several groups investigating the march, though no arrests have been made.

On Monday — the day of the July 4 holiday — Murrell joined a number of the city’s Black leaders near the site of the altercation to call for more community and government action against racism. Among them was Boston civil rights activist Reverend Kevin Peterson, who questioned how the march could have flown under the radar of city officers. Patriot Front, founded in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017, is an offshoot of the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America. During the Saturday demonstration, members carried United States flags depicting 13 stars in a circle, representing the original colonies, and banners featuring a symbol for Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Party. 

“It’s mind-boggling to me that a group of 100 children of the KKK were allowed to march across the span of the city, from Haymarket to into this area of Back Bay, without appropriate police presence or surveillance,” Peterson said on Monday. “While the city investigates the perpetrators of the crime, perhaps there should be some investigation of the police — their capacity, ability and presence in terms of monitoring this group.”

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