State investigating hate flyers found in Portland’s West End

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Maine State Police and the attorney general’s office are investigating racist and anti-Semitic flyers posted on the property of a private club in Portland’s West End.

Project Relief Maine, the organization formerly known as Black Lives Matter Maine, shared an image of one of the flyers March 10 on Instagram.

Flyers promoting the Nationalist Social Club were discovered in Portland’s West End earlier this month. Maine State Police and the attorney general’s office are now investigating.

The flyer, addressed to “white men,” said “Black Lives Matter and Antifa Communist Terrorists are coming to your community soon to wreak havoc against white people. Organize your own local crew to protect your family and property.”

The flyer also featured the emblem of the Nationalist Social Club, which, according to the Anti-Defamation League, is a “neo-Nazi group with small, autonomous regional chapters in the United States and abroad.”

Portland Police Department representative David Singer last week said a neighbor found at least two flyers on the social club’s Gray Street property and took photos of them before removing and disposing of them.

The photos and information on the flyers were then sent to the Maine State Police and the civil rights investigator at the attorney general’s office. 

Singer said no one has been charged and there are no suspects at this time.

“So the intent of the flyers is undetermined, whether it was a prank by one or more individuals, or if it was an actual effort of intimidation or threatening,” he said March 10. 

Police asked the public to report additional occurrences of the flyers or if they see someone posting similar flyers around the city by calling the department’s anonymous tip line at 874-8584.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Nationalist Social Club “espouses racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance via the Internet, propaganda distributions and the use of graffiti.” In a July, 2020, report, the Boston Globe referred to the NSC as “a New England white supremacist group.” NBC 10 Boston reported last October that NSC propaganda, including stickers on road signs, were discovered in Milford, New Hampshire, and Brookline, Massachusetts.

Qainat Khan, communications director of the ACLU of Maine, said the threat of white supremacist violence is meant to make people of color and other marginalized communities feel like they don’t belong in Maine.

“But let’s be clear: all people deserve to live in their communities with dignity and safety,” Khan said. “People of color, LGBTQ+ people, people of diverse faiths, immigrants, they all belong in Maine.”